Gen. McChrystal Makes Surprise Visit to NATO Ministers’ Meeting to Lobby for Escalation

Commander Again Goes Behind Administration's Back to Campaign for Plan

by Jason Ditz, October 23, 2009

It was only three weeks ago that President Obama held an impromptu in-flight meeting with Afghan commander General Stanley McChrystal to privately reprimand him for publicly campaigning for his strategy of escalation in the war.

The lesson does not appear to have taken, however, as today Gen. McChrystal made an unscheduled appearance at the NATO Defense Ministers’ meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia to hold a behind-the-scenes lobbying session to convince the ministers of his plan.

The visit appeared to work as the general intended, as the alliance publicly embraced his strategy. Analysts say the NATO endorsement will almost certainly pressure Obama to back the strategy as well.

But once again it seems that Gen. McChrystal is going well outside the traditional chain of command to sell his plan of a dramatically escalated war any way he can. In NATO nations in general and the US in particular, war strategy has been the exclusive domain of civilian governments, with military advice something done behind the scenes. By contrast McChrystal seems very eager to publicly sell his strategy to the world, even going so far as to ridicule alternative plans.

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