I read this report with a jaundiced eye. Barry McCaffery's early reports on Iraq were highly politicized and wrong. His latest report on Iraq seems to be more of an attempt to move away from a situation where he was clearly maneuvering for a cabinet position in the Clinton administration. That fact colors my reading of his report on Afghanistan. (Also, I quit referring to him as a retired General Officer when he politicized himself, he is just a politician to me now.) I have professionally known him since he was the Battalion Commander of 2/30 Infantry in Germany in 1981.
Having said that, I tend to agree with most of his assessment and see this as what GEN Patraeus has inherited from ADM Fallon. What I do not agree with is McCaffery's assessment of the Army as "a rapidly unraveling Army". True, equipment is battered and matériel stockpiles are largely depleted, but the personnel of the US Army are not in the midst of a loss of morale as McCaffery would imply, just the opposite. Yes, I wish the government would greatly expand the size of the military to ease the continual redeployments. I don't remember this kind of deployment turnover during Vietnam and we should do something about lessening it. But make no mistake about the resolve of our troops to win. I only question the resolve of our country to win. It is a continuing complaint among troops that they are at war while America is at the Mall.
I have full faith that GEN Patreaus will resolve the Afghanistan issues as he resolved the Iraqi issues, in spite of shout downs by the Democrats and some Republicans in Congress, and Barry McCaffery too, that Iraq was unwinable. If we support GEN Patreaus and get out of his way, I have no doubt we will succeed in Afghanistan too.
Bottomline is that whoever is elected will have a daunting task to rebuild the military stockpiles and hopefully increase the troop strength to lower the OP TEMPO. Failure to do so will most definitely leave this country vulnerable.
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