Mike Mullen thinks the U.S. is losing the war in Afghanistan. He calls the situation "serious and deteriorating." So what? A lot of us think the same thing.
But we don't run the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the high command of the U.S. military. Mike Mullen does.
His job title isn't the only difference between Admiral Mullen and the rest of us. More than half of all Americans think the 8-year-old occupation of Afghanistan is a mistake (52% of us according to the latest poll) and want it over with.
Not Mike Mullen! Right now, he's locked in urgent discussions with administration advisers and his own generals to figure out how many more troops he can get away with asking for to keep the occupation going.
Will sending 15,000 more soldiers and Marines, the lowest number being floated, make the war the kind of liability for this administration that Iraq was for George W. Bush? Will Mullen dare to ask for 45,000 new troops, the number actually requested by General Stanley McChrystal, his top commander on the ground?
This is where WE come in. Follow the hearings when Congress comes back in session. Read the news commentary. The number of young men and women the Pentagon and the White House say must be sent into harm's way will tell us two things--just how badly the occupation is going and just how scared they are of the American people.
And when they do finally ask for more troops, that will tell us one more thing: they aren't scared enough of the political consequences to face reality--yet. It is still our job to to protest the escalation; to support the troops by demanding that they be brought home; to talk with our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers; to pressure our Congresscritters.
Because if Admiral Mike Mullen has his way, this war will drag on for years and years to come, and the death toll--of Afghans and occupiers both--will climb and climb.
[Crossposted from the Iraq Moratorium website.]