Some of the advisers who worked on the assessment "including the Kagans occasionally exchange correspondence with General McChrystal, who appreciates a diversity of views on the issues he confronts in Afghanistan," McChrystal spokesman Tadd Sholtis told TPMmuckraker in an e-mail.
"If you're just going to say they're advisers in some kind of neutral way, then yes. If by saying they're advisers you're going to imply that we're in some kind of neocon thrall, then no. Like I said, he takes advice from all sides."
It's been observed that no one who advised McChrystal on the review "thinks the war effort is adequately resourced." This list of the dozen advisers gives a sense of how "all sides" is defined. Besides AEI, other organizations represented include: the RAND Corporation, Brookings, the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and the Center for a New American Security.
There's little doubt the Kagans were strong proponents within the assessment team of sending more American troops to Afghanistan. They argue in a co-bylined Washington Post op-ed and a new report for the American Enterprise Institute, where Fred is a resident scholar, for 40,000 to 45,000 new U.S. troops in 2010. Fred also signed on to a letter from conservatives to Obama beseeching the president to approve an escalation in Afghanistan.
He held forth at an AEI panel earlier this year on Iraqis' tolerance, relative to Afghans, for civilian deaths caused by American forces, saying that Iraqis were "not bitching about collateral damage." Reducing civilian deaths in Afghanistan has been declared a priority by McChrystal.
McChrystal, for his part, has followed up the strategic assessment with a request asking for somewhere between 10,000 and 40,000 extra troops, Bob Woodward reported Sunday. That would be on top of the 21,000 new troops Obama has ordered to Afghanistan, for a total of 68,000, plus tens of thousands of non-US NATO troops, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 70,000 contractors.
Neither Fred nor Kimberly Kagan, who were each out of their offices Friday, responded to requests for comment. We'll update this post if they do.