In another CNN “factcheck”, they tested the veracity of this Joe Biden statement:
“…our commanding general in Afghanistan said the surge principle in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan.”
CNN judged Biden’s statement to be “true”, but it’s not true. The drive-bys at CNN don’t understand the difference between a surge in forces and the surge strategy. Surge strategy = counterinsurgency strategy. The surge in forces is but one component of the larger strategy. Here’s how Palin responded to Biden:
“…the surge principles, not the exact strategy, but the surge principles that have worked in Iraq need to be implemented in Afghanistan.”
Surge principles = counterinsurgency principles.
Here’s what the Washington Post reporter said about McKiernan’s comments:
The new top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said yesterday that more U.S. troops are urgently required to combat a worsening insurgency, but he stated emphatically that no Iraq-style “surge” of forces will end the conflict there. “Afghanistan is not Iraq,” said Gen. David McKiernan, who led ground forces during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and took over four months ago as head of the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan.During a news conference yesterday, McKiernan described Afghanistan as “a far more complex environment than I ever found in Iraq.” The country’s mountainous terrain and rural population, its poverty and illiteracy, its 400 major tribal networks and history of civil war all make for unique challenges, he said. “The word I don’t use for Afghanistan is ‘surge,’ ” McKiernan emphasized, saying that what is required instead is a “sustained commitment” to a counterinsurgency effort that could last many more years and would ultimately require a political, not military, solution.
McKiernan was clearly saying that just an increase of forces wouldn’t end the conflict, that we can’t use the same tactics as in Iraq, and that we need to commit to a sustained counterinsurgency strategy. The transcript of McKiernan’s remarks confirms the intent of what he was trying to convey. Biden was wrong and Palin was right. An excerpt of the transcript:
Q: And does that include the request for 3,500 trainers or is the trainer request on top of that? GEN. MCKIERNAN: The trainer request is being reviewed right now, because what we’re looking to in the future there is having units come to Afghanistan that are trained to conduct counterinsurgency operations, but are — also have been trained to work with the Afghan army and the Afghan police. So that might change the requirement for what are called the training teams or the police mentoring teams in the future.
McKiernan was talking about differences in tactics, not in the principles underlying the overall battle plan. General Petraeus was saying the same thing just days earlier. The operations still fall under a counterinsurgency umbrella, but the tactics adjust to the situation on the ground. The hacks at CNN don’t have the first clue as to what counterinsurgency doctrine is. Add their other failed “factcheck” and it’s clear to me that CNN is in the bag for Obama.
Update: Even NPR isn’t buying it.
General David McKiernan, the US commander in Afghanistan this week said “Afghanistan is not Iraq. .. What I don’t think is needed — the word I don’t use in Afghanistan is the word surge.” On the other hand, speaking today, McKiernan said more troops should be rushed to Afghanistan “as quickly as possible.” So while he doesn’t believe in using the word surge because it resonates of Iraq, he does believe in rushing more troops to Afghanistan — a surge by another name.