You can access a slightly redacted copy of General McChrystal’s Initial Assessment from the Washington Post website.
Some excerpts that strike me as especially important:
Our strategy cannot be focused on seizing terrain or destroying insurgent forces, our objective must be the population. In the struggle to gain the support of the people, every action we take must enable this effort. The population also represents a powerful actor that can and must be leveraged in this complex system…
Preoccupied with protection of our own forces, we have operated in a manner that distances us — physicially and psychologically — for the people we seek to protect. In addition, we run the risk of strategic defeat by pursuing the tactical wins that cause civilian casualities or unnecessary collateral damage. The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves…
To accomplish the mission and defeat the insurgency we also require a properly resourced strategy built on four main pillars:
1. Improve effectiveness through greater partnering with the ANSF. We will increase the size and accelerate the growth of the ANSF, with a radically improved partnership at every level, to improve effectiveness and prepare them to take the lead in security operations.
2. Prioritize responsive and accountable governance. We must assist in improving governance at all levels through both formal and traditional mechanisms.
3. Gain the initiative. Our first imperative, in a series of operational stages, is to gain the initiative and reverse the insurgency’s momentum
4. Focus Resources. We will prioritize available resources to those critical areas where vulnerable populations are most threatened.
This is the lead story today — and perhaps of the week — but I will be offline for most of the next two days. Will be interested in what you have said when I rejoin the network mid-week.
You can read Bob Woodward’s headline-making story in today’s Washington Post.
As discussed previously, for me our fight in Afghanistan is related to homeland security by the need to seriously reduce terrorist capabilities all along the Hindu Kush.