If there was one thing that jumped out at me in the atmospherics of the hearing, it was that Gen. McChrystal was much more certain about what he will accomplish than was Gen. Petraeus in 2007 — not that the two hearings are the same! But there were a lot of significant moments. McChrystal took a mature and realistic definition of “defeating” the insurgency. He doesn’t expect to ask for even more troops, although he could not responsibly promise that he wouldn’t. He repeatedly defended transitioning to Afghan responsibility for security in July 2011, and at one point said that the surge combined with the “strategic inflection point” best maximized how to aid Afghans without being occupiers. He refused — a lot — to allow himself to be used by the GOP against President Obama, and defended Obama at every turn. He said there aren’t many al-Qaeda in Afghanistan but said that was kind of a misleading measurement. He engaged with antiwar arguments respectfully. And he thinks — and Amb. Eikenberry agrees — that over the next 18 months, he has the strategy and resources in place to demonstrate real progress that will engender a gradual transition to Afghan security forces.
I’m getting some lunch. I actually wrote more posts than just those. Next hearing is at 1:30 pm EST.