In June, McChrystal noted, he had arrived in Afghanistan and set about fulfilling his assignment. His lean face, hovering on the screen at the end of the table, was replaced by a mission statement on a PowerPoint slide: "Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population."
"Is that really what you think your mission is?" one of the participants asked.
In the first place, it was impossible -- the Taliban were part of the fabric of the Pashtun belt of southern Afghanistan, culturally if not ideologically supported by a major part of the population. "We don't need to do that," Gates said, according to one participant. "That's an open-ended, forever commitment."
But that was precisely his mission, McChrystal responded, enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan -- the execution orders for the March strategy, written by the NSC staff.
"I wouldn't say there was quite a 'whoa' moment," a senior defense official said of the reaction around the table. "It was just sort of a recognition that, 'Duh, that's what in effect the commander understands he's been told to do.' Everybody said, 'He's right.'"
As Ace puts it, The problem with these Obama folks is that they're so naive, so irreducibly ignorant of anything other than the inside of a classroom, they don't realize that when you give the U.S. armed forces a mission, they actually try to get it done.
What is this bullshit? "Oh, I told him to kill the Taliban, but I didn't think he'd take it so literally." What. The. Fuck.