Lt. Col. Yingling Rebuts Gen. Krulak

Last week, Gen. Charles Krulak (Ret.) advocated the withdrawal of most American troops from Afghanistan and the adoption of a “light footprint” strategy, which would rely almost exclusively on airpower and special operations forces to kill members of Al Qaeda in the region.  Gen. Krulak’s opinion was published on in the form of an e-mail to George Will (, and his piece was discussed on this blog on Friday (see “Will and Krulak on Afghanistan”, Sept. 11, 2009).

In rebuttal, Lt. Col. Paul Yingling posted a blog on,  in which he questioned Gen. Krulak’s assumptions and the wisdom of his proposals (  Col. Yingling argues that the “light footprint” strategy has already failed in Afghanistan, and the only prudent way forward is to pursue the population-protection counterinsurgency strategy that the military has adopted.  Col. Yingling dismisses Gen. Krulak’s claim that Al Qaeda, not the Taliban, is America’s only real enemy, and rejects the idea that the American people are not willing to provide the resources necessary to prevail in Afghanistan under the current strategy.  Crucial to Col. Yingling’s argument is the idea that the US military will be able to train enough Afghans to perform counterinsurgency operations effectively.

The debate between Col. Yingling and Gen. Krulak is very interesting, as are the readers’ responses to Col. Yingling’s blog on  I highly recommend reading them.


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