The general raised a touchy issue: whether to buy generators to supply electricity to Kandahar. For months, the ambassador and many civilian development experts had opposed doing so now, because it didn’t fit long-term national plans for power generation. But Kandahar is the Taliban stronghold that is the American military’s next target. And General Petraeus, according to an official familiar with the conference call, said the basic services were so badly needed there that it justified going ahead.
The ambassador fell into line, the official said. In the perennial tug-of-war between civilian aspirations and military imperatives, score one for the Pentagon.
That, at least, is one way to read the conversation, especially in light of the harsh comments about civilian officials that General McChrystal had allowed members of his staff to make in front of a reporter. But another is that the McChrystal episode — and rumors that Ambassador Eikenberry might be replaced — have chastened officials on both sides, and that both now want to avoid a zero-sum game between State and Defense in Afghanistan. There, more even than in Iraq, the military and civilian sides need each other.
Förhoppningsfullt kan man se detta som Petraeus diplomatiska förmåga att navigera genom militära och civila vatten fyllda med mängder av institutionella och politiska inre stridigheter.