The public rift between Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Pres. Obama over the number of troops needed in Afghanistan is strikingly similar to one between the former top British military commander and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
McChrystal has been calling for more troops before the Afghan mission gets away from the military. President Obama has been balking at answering the general's request. And McChrystal has been admonished, both privately by the president in Copenhagen, and publicly by Defense Secretary Gates. Meanwhile, the White House ponders what to do, saying it would rather get it right than rush into anything.
Vice President Biden has been pushing for a reduction in U.S. troops in Afghanistan and a change to the mission. Rather than take on the Taliban, Biden has told the president, the military should just concentrate on al Qaeda. Of course, this recommendation was first proffered before a U.S. military outpost near the Pakistan border was overrun by the Taliban.
The president has been meeting with advisers in the White House to discuss the two widely different approaches to the war effort. McChrystal has been participating in some of those meetings via satellite. This has all led to speculation that the general may resign should the president favor the Biden proposal or order a compromise that McChrystal can't live with.
Now comes word from the BBC that nearly the same scenario played out in the United Kingdom, albeit not so publicly. Like McChrystal, then-General Sir Richard Dannatt called for more troops in Afghanistan. Brown rejected the recommendation and Dannatt resigned.