The operation in Marjah is supposed to be the first blow in a decisive campaign
to oust the Taliban from their spiritual homeland in adjacent Kandahar province,
one that McChrystal had hoped would bring security and stability to Marjah and
begin to convey an "irreversible sense of momentum" in the U.S.-led campaign in
Instead, a tour last week of Marjah and the nearby Nad Ali
district, during which McClatchy had rare access to meetings between McChrystal
and top Western strategists, drove home the hard fact that President Barack
Obama's plan to begin pulling American troops out of Afghanistan in July 2011 is
colliding with the realities of the war.
There aren't enough U.S. and
Afghan forces to provide the security that's needed to win the loyalty of wary
locals. The Taliban have beheaded Afghans who cooperate with foreigners in a
creeping intimidation campaign. The Afghan government hasn't dispatched enough
local administrators or trained police to establish credible governance, and now
the Taliban have begun their anticipated spring offensive.
"This is a
bleeding ulcer right now," McChrystal told a group of Afghan officials,
international commanders in southern Afghanistan and civilian strategists who
are leading the effort to oust the Taliban fighters from Helmand.
don't feel it here," he said during a 10-hour front-line strategy review, "but
I'll tell you, it's a bleeding ulcer outside."
We have got to get out of Afghanistan. We are spending lives there that will never be recovered. This article coupled with the fact that we just crossed the 1000 mark in troops killed in Afghanistan is like a giant flashing "WARNING" light.