To rescue Afghanistan's security forces through partnering and advising, the U.S. unquestionably needs the extra 30,000 or 40,000 troops that Gen. McChrystal wants. That many troops are required to put American officers—commissioned and noncommissioned—with Afghan soldiers and policemen at all levels and at all times.
Without them, poorly led Afghan security forces will continue to abuse the citizenry more than they abuse the insurgents. And current rhetoric about "protecting the population" and "engaging the tribes" will end up with the millions of other words that never leapt from the strategy documents to the field.These extra troops are needs so that the Afghan security forces can eventually take over for us some time in the future. Instead they will be poorly led and eventually be replaced by the Taliban.
It is a surge so we can eventually leave something decent behind. If we betray Afghanistan twice in a row and leave a mess in our wake then no amount of genuflecting in the Middle East will ever get our credibility back. It's Obama's war to win or lose and he needs to make that decision soon or the failure will be his alone.