- By Christian BroseChristian Brose is a senior editor at Foreign Policy. He served as chief speechwriter and policy advisor for U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from 2005 to 2008, and as speechwriter for former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2004 to 2005.
Apropos of Ross Douthat’s fine column today about President Obama’s reluctance thus far but requirement in future to become a "war president" on Afghanistan, I found this bit of last night’s 60 Minutes profile of Gen. McChrystal to be — how do you say? — unbelievable:
Q: How often do you talk to the president?
McChrystal: I’ve talked to the president once since I’ve been here, on a .
Once?! We’re talking, by my rough math, more than 100 days that McChrystal has been the president’s hand-picked commander in Afghanistan, and he’s spoken with him once. I’m not sure what the bigger question is right now: Whether the president will stick with his counterinsurgency strategy from March and resource it up to McChrystal’s recommended levels — or whether he will take ownership of any decision he ultimately makes and get fully behind it.
I am all for making absolutely sure that any Afghanistan strategy is right before making any resourcing decisions, and for scrubbing it hard in light of recent events. But all of that aside, we are still at war. Is it too much to ask the president to devote as much of his personal time and public capital on Afghanistan as he is on getting his hometown the 2016 Olympics?