Winds of Change

Haiti and homosexuals-at-the-front have knocked a much-beleaguered Afghanistan off the topic du jour. One could see this hiatus as providing a much-needed time of reflection. Others could see this as an opportunity for military leaders under Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal to do their thing without the microscope and cameras.

It seems the political front has hoped for better news from McChrystal. As recently as late summer, the Afghan commander painted a bleak picture of the challenge facing allied forces and saw the situation on the ground deteriorating.

But McChrystal and hope spring eternal. His comments, though benign, garnered huge headlines and registered more than 1,800 hits on Google News.

Star Date, Feb. 5. The top dailies reported:

Beauty is in the eyes of the reporter, and no one wants to be out-scooped, but McChrystal did not say much. He said he no longer believes the situation on the ground is deteriorating, but admitted no corner has been turned. He was clear his evidence was anecdotal.

Are reporters and officials so desperate for a sign from McChystal? (Even more so than wise King David Petraeus in Iraq?) McChrystal like military leaders from other nations admits the Taliban continues to make gains, but given meetings with tribal leaders and visits to markets in Helmand and Kandahar provinces, he sees indicators that lead him to feel confident to test the hope card..

Were these musings of a thoughtful commander? Political patronage? A prelude to the big news yet to come? The truth is in the eyes of the reader.

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