In Kabul, some members of McChrystal's staff said they don't understand why Obama called Afghanistan a "war of necessity" but still hasn't given them the resources they need to turn things around quickly.Speculation over how and why that letter leaked is of serious concern, primarily because it raises questions over White House policy on its national security policy and commitments to fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban from the very places they treated as safe harbors prior to 9/11.
Three officers at the Pentagon and in Kabul told McClatchy that the McChrystal they know would resign before he'd stand behind a faltering policy that he thought would endanger his forces or the strategy.
"Yes, he'll be a good soldier, but he will only go so far," a senior official in Kabul said. "He'll hold his ground. He's not going to bend to political pressure."
Meanwhile, the White House is floating the idea of increasing operations against al Qaeda in Pakistan while not reinforcing US numbers in Afghanistan.
Two senior administration officials said Monday that the renewed fight against the terrorist organization could lead to more missile attacks on Pakistan terrorist havens by unmanned U.S. spy planes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because no decisions have been made.Denying al Qaeda and Taliban a safe haven is mission creep? That sounds like Obama is laying groundwork for a possible withdrawal of US forces, not sending more troops. Far from bolstering our Afghan allies, this turn of events shows our allies that this Administration is not looking to long term US strategic interests. That's a major concern, not just in Afghanistan and Pakistan but around the world.
Top aides to President Obama said he still has questions and wants more time to decide.
The officials said the administration would push ahead with the ground mission in Afghanistan for the near future, still leaving the door open for sending more U.S. troops. But Obama's top advisers, including Vice President Joe Biden, have indicated they are reluctant to send many more troops — if any at all — in the immediate future.
In weekend interviews, Obama emphasized that disrupting al-Qaida is his "core goal" and worried aloud about "mission creep" that moved away from that direction. "If it starts drifting away from that goal, then we may have a problem," he said.