A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Think Tankers Behind the McChrystal Report

An interesting point in relation to my earlier remarks on the McChrystal report: via a link on Marc Lynch's critique, the list of the think tankers who participated in and, apparently in effect, wrote the report. As Spencer Ackerman notes in the post, all are national security types, none are particularly Afghanistan experts, though local expertise is usually the first principle of counterinsurgency theory. Some of them are good, some know the region well — Exum, Cordesman, Biddle — they are all first and foremost security types, some of them (the two Kagans) with well-known leanings. I think as the debate proceeds, it's fair game to discuss the choice of the think tankers who apparently did much of the work for McChrystal's report. It doesn't change my thinking that the report is rather nuanced and sophisticated and not just a more-troops-now call, but it does raise some methodological issues.

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