The latest leak from within the sieve of the Trump administration allowed NBC news to publish a remarkably detailed account of a top secret meeting of the National Security Council in mid July. It seems the point of the meeting was to get Trump to endorse the Pentagon's plan to send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan and commit to years more of combat.
But Trump wasn't having it. He lambasted the generals for failing, saying "We're not winning, we're losing." He said that Gen. John Nicholson, currently in command in Afghanistan, should be fired.
Trump had recently spoken to some regular soldiers who told him the war was a disaster, and he compared Afghanistan to a troubled Manhattan restaurant where, he said, the waiters knew what was going on but the owners didn't have a clue.
I love this; one thing about Trump is that he is not afraid to say what he thinks to anybody. But can he actually have any impact on the situation? He may not like the Pentagon's plan, but does he have any clue what to do instead? Do any of his close advisers? In the end some decision has to be made, and if nobody can come up with an alternative to the Pentagon's strategy, that will be chosen by default.
Personally I would have pulled out of Afghanistan a decade ago, figuring that if the Afghans want a democracy they can damn well fight for it themselves. Keeping 10,000 Americans in country at great expense just seems to be prolonging the stalemate. I wonder what they really think in the Pentagon. Do they think that with some level of troops and planes they could finish off the Taliban and win the war? Do they wish they had 200,000 men but know they won't get them? Or would they rather walk away? It's puzzling, really. What do we think we are doing?
But I'm glad to see Trump calling bullshit on somebody.