8 November, 2009 — TMS
It is possible that the creation of an all-professional American army was the most dangerous decision ever taken by Congress. The nation now confronts a political crisis in which the issue has become an undeclared contest between Pentagon power and that of a newly elected president.
Barack Obama has yet to declare his decision on the war in Afghanistan, and there is every reason to think that he will follow military opinion. Yet he is under immense pressure from his Republican opponents to, in effect, renounce his presidential power, and step aside from the fundamental strategic decisions of the nation.
The officer he named to command the war in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, demands a reinforcement of 40 thousand soldiers, raising the total U.S. commitment to over 100 thousand troops (or more, in the future). He says that he cannot succeed without them, and even then may be unable to win the war within a decade. Yet the American public is generally in doubt about this war, most of all the president’s own liberal electorate.
President Obama almost certainly will do as the the general requests, or something very close to it. He can read the wartime politics in this situation.