Miltary Wants More Troops for Afhganistan

The military is telling President Obama it doesn't have enough troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The possibility that more troops will be needed in Afghanistan presents the Obama administration with another problem in dealing with a nearly eight-year war that has lost popularity at home, compounded by new questions over the credibility of the Afghan government, which has just held an as-yet inconclusive presidential election beset by complaints of fraud.

Can't we just finish the reconstruction work we promised them from our 2001 invasion and go home?

Related AP article: Obama facing tough choices in Afghanistan.

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    Win what? (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by BobTinKY on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 07:30:24 AM EST
    What are we doing?

    I thought the point was to in there and take out Al Queda as the Taliban-run government had failed to police within its borders.  Now we have a war against Al Queda and the Taliban, mostly Taliban as far as who actually reside in Afghanistan.  Most people now view the Taliban and Al Queda as one and the same.

    This should have been over in 2003.  Take out Al Queda leaders and leave governance of Afghanistan in the hands of whoever the Afghan people decide, ballots or bullets.  The important thing was to leave whoever leads  the country with no doubt that the US would be back should they faile again to police within their borders.

    Now I am hearing from Democrats how important it is we leave a "stable" (US Puppet) government in place.  For those who think that is important enough to require our continued presence ask yourself it is a cause you would lay down your life for, or a cause you'd be comfortable we pursued if your child came home from Afghanistan in a coffin.  If the answer is no, and in my view it is, we should leave ASAP.

    Meteor Blades (none / 0) (#1)
    by kidneystones on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 12:53:30 AM EST
    is one of the few Dem bloggers to repeatedly and insistently question the wisdom of deploying 70,000 US troops to Afghanistan.

    Rumsfeld was right. There are no targets in Afghanistan. That doesn't mean that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. It means that even Rummy could see the challenges of waging war in a country as vast and inaccessible as Afghanistan.

    Dems have doubled-down on Bush's bad bets. The risks are enormous. I opposed the surge and was proven wrong. The increased number of US troops dispatched to Iraq did bring greater order, peace, and stability. The US may very well have to remain in Iraq for many years to come to act as peacekeepers. The chances of conflict are great and no other nation seems willing to step-up and share the burden, at least now.

    The UK papers are filled every single week with full-color stories of dead soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Support for the troops remains high. Support for the war is crumbling.

    Dems have committed US prestige and soft-power to success in both Afghanistan and Iraq. I've been wrong before, but I can't quite see how the US wins in Afghanistan without committing much, much more to a war fewer and fewer Americans support.

    actually, the taliban (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 08:41:05 AM EST
    was a "stable" government, albeit one comprised of religious lunatics. hey, sometimes you have to go with the government you have (and the one we created), rather than the government you'd prefer!

    on the plus side, when the taliban were in power, they nearly totally cut off the growing of poppies, the source of heroin. granted, they used crude methods (summary execution), but it did get the job done.

    i'd think the republicans would be all for a return of the taliban to power, they're kind of brothers under the skin anyway.

    as i've noted before, unless they plan on sending 500k troops over there (and i'm guessing not), it's a waste of scarce, allocable resources, putting good men & women in harm's way, for no good reason.

    afghanistan & iraq both evolved during the bush administration, that doesn't mandate the obama administration accepting those evolutions. fix what we broke, and get out.

    Amost 100% agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by BobTinKY on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 11:31:14 AM EST
    but I would maintain sending 500k troops would be an even greater waste of resources & human life.

    Well the whole active alliance with AQ (none / 0) (#6)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 02:38:38 PM EST
    to the point the Al Queda was used to eliminate enemies of the regime and in return was given the freedom to run training camps, etc. wasn't exactly tolerable from the perspective of the US- we can look the other way on human rights abuses-- see the Uzbekistan, Egypt, etc. but housing and actively allying with a force that killed 3000+ Americans in multiple attacks over the course of nearly a decade is a bit too much.

    Years later (none / 0) (#5)
    by cal1942 on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 11:36:17 AM EST
    need just a few thousand more troops to turn the corner, to see that light at the end of the tunnel.

    There are many billions of dollars to be squandered, lives to be lost, life altering wounds to be suffered before it finally dawns on the serious people that we're in a civil conflict of our own making and that any chance for success, the original reason for engaging, was lost by incompetant serious people at Tora Bora in the first months of the conflict so many years before.

    An encore presentation.

    Hmmmm, I'm feeling a six month (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 04:06:36 PM EST
    rotation turning into twelve months.

    Former CIA Station Chiefs Agree (none / 0) (#8)
    by Hound Dog on Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 10:34:42 PM EST
    It doesn't matter whether you like or dislike the CIA.  (Personally, I view the professional gathering and analysis of information about military adversaries as a crucial function.)  But a person doesn't become a CIA station chief by some kind of dumb accident.  You have to be smart, and very capable.

    And here's three former station chiefs who served in Afghanistan and Pakistan who explain why our large scale military occupation in Afghan is dead wrong.

    Milton Bearden was station chief in Islamabad during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.  The final paragraph of his article "Obama's War" in Foreign Affairs reads:

    Every foreign power to enter Afghanistan in the last 2,500 years has faced these challenges in one form or another. All failed to overcome them. The likelihood of the United States breaking this pattern is slight. It is becoming clear, however, that the Obama administration at least understands the odds it faces.

    Given the bleak picture for our troops which he paints in the article, I take that last sentence to mean the same thing as, The Titanic has struck the iceberg, and the captain is informed of the situation.

    .     .

    Robert Grenier is another former CIA station chief in Islamabad.  He's also famously the Director of the Counterterrorism Center who was fired by the Bush government for not going along with rendition and torture.  In a videoed interview he did for Rethink Afghanistan Part 6, he says:

    I don't think that a major conventional military force - which, whatever it's strategic intent, is going to look to a local people like a colonizing occupation army - is going to succeed in the long run in Afghanistan. [transcript by me]

    If you're even slightly interested in Afghanistan, you will definitely want to click the above link for Rethink Afghanistan and watch these vids, if you haven't seen them yet.

    .     .

    Graham Fuller is a former CIA station chief in Kabul and a former vice-chair of the CIA's National Intelligence Council. He contributed an article titled "Obama's Policies Making Situation Worse in Afghanistan and Pakistan" at Huffington Post, which concludes:

    Al-Qaida's threat no longer emanates from the caves of the borderlands, but from its symbolism that has long since metastasized to other activists of the Muslim world. Meanwhile, the Pashtuns will fight on for a major national voice in Afghanistan. But few Pashtuns on either side of the border will long maintain a radical and international jihadi perspective once the incitement of the U.S. presence is gone. Nobody on either side of the border really wants it.

    What can be done must be consonant with the political culture. Let non-military and neutral international organizations, free of geopolitical taint, take over the binding of Afghan wounds and the building of state structures.

    If the past eight years had shown ongoing success, perhaps an alternative case for U.S. policies could be made. But the evidence on the ground demonstrates only continued deterioration and darkening of the prognosis. Will we have more of the same? Or will there be a U.S. recognition that the American presence has now become more the problem than the solution? We do not hear that debate. [emphasis added by me.  Graham Fuller is also interviewed in the Rethink Afghanistan video.]