Update, 9:43 a.m., Nov. 13: Double-urg. I have to retract this, with great regret and apology. I posted an explanation of why here.
Update, 11:40 p.m.: Urg. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor says he talked to Eikenberry’s people and the teleconference call I reported here did not occur. I will have much, much more later.
Then I suggest you read this. A sampling of what I’m reporting:
No one was happy to read in The Washington Post that Eikenberry, who commanded the war himself from 2005 to 2007, thinks that the Karzai government needs to demonstrate its commitment to anti-corruption measures before the administration can responsibly authorize another troop increase. The prevailing theory is that “he leaked his own cables” because “he has a beef with McChrystal,” the staffer said. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Eikenberry’s successor as NATO commander in Afghanistan, has requested an increase in troops to support a counterinsurgency strategy with a substantial counterterrorism component.
But Eikenberry — who also briefed the White House by teleconference yesterday — reiterated his concerns. The ambassador told the NSC not to send additional troops to Afghanistan “without an exit strategy” and urged that the president to adopt a “purely civilian approach” with the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development in the lead, not the military. According to the NSC staffer, Eikenberry “wants a realignment” of USAID, the Afghanistan inspector general’s office and the State Department’s stabilization and reconstruction office. Eikenberry said President Obama “wants that” — although President Obama was not in the meeting — and he hailed the arrival of the new USAID administrator-nominee, Rajiv Shah, “because he will not wage war when the org charts start changing.”
There’s much, much more, so read the whole thing. But I have to echo something Siun wrote — first time for everything, right? Just playing; FDL is stronger for its internal diversity, if I say so myself — and say that the White House Afghanistan strategy debates have become much more fluid than, at least, I was perceiving as recently as two weeks ago. It’s like The Real World: the longer this goes on, the realer it gets. Critiques are getting fundamental. And frankly, as chaotic as this appears, I don’t see how it isn’t healthy.
Update: I edited my Windy post to make it more readable, and so I edited the blockquote up here too. Carry on!