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The substitute for strategy in Afghan war

- The Washington Times - Monday, June 28, 2010

Many years ago, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, a West Point graduate, advised, "There is no substitute for victory." For decades, West Point cadets have memorized his advice. In December 2007, President Obama brought change to West Point and offered the cadets a substitute for victory. Mr. Obama failed to define victory and set a withdrawal deadline for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama's substitute-for-victory policy in Afghanistan has claimed many casualties, and the latest is Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. The president's policy for Afghanistan, along with the general's lapse of professionalism, is responsible for the insubordination. Gen. David H. Petraeus has accepted the Afghanistan mission without a commitment from Mr. Obama to change the policy. The only question that remains is: Will Gen. Petraeus be the next West Point general to become a casualty of Mr. Obama's substitute-for-victory policy in Afghanistan? Hopefully not, but maybe Gen. MacArthur was right after all.

MICHAEL MITCHELL

Scottsdale, Ariz.

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