Admiral Mullen appeared on a couple Sunday shows yesterday as well, and he offered a fairly low opinion of the trajectory of the war in Afghanistan:
The situation in Afghanistan is "serious and deteriorating," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Sunday, as the Obama administration awaits an assessment by the new U.S. commander there and a possible request for more troops.
Mullen also expressed concern over recent opinion polls indicating that for the first time a majority of Americans do not think the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting. President Obama has described the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the central front against international terrorism and has pledged to give it all necessary resources.
I think the allegations of widespread fraud in the Afghan elections is a clear warning sign of the mess we face over there. That could easily erupt into an Iran-style uprising, but only in Kabul among the most fervent supporters of the two candidates - elsewhere in the country it will merely suggest that the government is weak and untenable. And the Taliban will be well-positioned to capitalize.
With the government in flux, support for the outlying regions won't be coming online anytime soon, which makes it impossible for the US military to carry out its mission.
American military commanders with the NATO mission in Afghanistan told President Obama’s chief envoy to the region this weekend that they did not have enough troops to do their job, pushed past their limit by Taliban rebels who operate across borders.
....The possibility that more troops will be needed in Afghanistan presents the Obama administration with another problem in dealing with a nearly eight-year war that has lost popularity at home, compounded by new questions over the credibility of the Afghan government, which has just held an as-yet inconclusive presidential election beset by complaints of fraud.
OK then. More troops aren't getting the job done because we're not getting any support from the Afghan government. So we're going to ask for more troops.
Overall, the evidence suggests that steadily increasing U.S. troop strength has had virtually no effect in the past; that the Taliban is getting continually stronger; that the central government is corrupt and incompetent; and that even under the best circumstances the Afghan army can't be brought up to speed in less than five years. At the same time, U.S. commanders say they understand that they have only 12-18 months to turn things around.
Someone needs to explain to me how that's going to happen. Anything even remotely plausible will do for a start. Because I sure don't see it.
I don't have any idea what we're trying to do in Afghanistan.
...do read Peter Baker's piece, Could Afghanistan Become Obama's Vietnam?