McChrystal: US View of Afghan War 'Frighteningly Simplistic'

Now we've only met half our goals, he says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2011 4:18 AM CDT
A US Marine watches the sunset at a forward operating base in Kandahar, Afghanistan in December 2001.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – After a decade of fighting in Afghanistan, the US and its NATO allies are only "a little better than" halfway to meeting their war goals, Gen. Stanley McChrystal warns. The former commander of coalition forces says the slow progress is largely due to the US not knowing what it was getting into, AP reports."We didn't know enough and we still don't know enough," he says. "Most of us—me included—had a very superficial understanding of the situation and history, and we had a frighteningly simplistic view of recent history."

American forces didn't know the country's languages and didn't make "an effective effort" to learn them, McChrystal says. Another setback was George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq less than two years after entering Afghanistan because it diverted resources from the Afghan war effort and "changed the Muslim world's view of America's effort," the general says. "When we went after the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, there was a certain understanding that we had the ability and the right to defend ourselves," but the Muslim viewed the Iraq invasion as less legitimate, he says.

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