Monday, November 30, 2009

Obama's Afghanistan Announcement

Obama and the Coming Year
by Charlie Leck

At any moment, perhaps even before I finish writing this, a very busy President Obama will make a statement about the war in Afghanistan.

Our President is trapped and he will need to grant the request of the military that more troops are needed in this strangest of strange wars. So what has taken so long for the President to make such an announcement?

Here’s my guess!
It is the couching of the President’s announcement that has taken so much time. Though the President will grant the request for 40,000 more troops for the war in Afghanistan, he really had to figure out from where to get them. Too many of our soldiers have been redeployed 2, 3 or 4 times. It is taking a toll on many of them and medical care for those who have been worn down and worn out have risen to astronomical levels. What then?

The President will set the terms and time for an end to military activities in Afghanistan. He will not simply accede to the requests for troops without setting down an end-date and a strategy for leaving Afghanistan. This President wants to be completely out of Iraq by the end of 2011 and out of Afghanistan at a date we will hear when he announces his decision to send more troops.

Iraq is one of the sorriest wars in which American troops have ever fought. It has been a wasteful shame to lose so many young Americans in a war without real purpose and mission. In Afghanistan there was somewhat more clarity about our mission and purpose – bringing down Osama bin Laden – but it unraveled into too many other unclear goals and missions. The military is not to be blamed for this. The ultimate blame lies strictly in the lap of the George W. Bush administration. Bush entered Afghanistan to track down and kill bin Laden. He failed in that mission and he failed to keep the goals of his military focused and clear.

President Obama will attempt to correct that serious error. It will be a difficult goal to accomplish, but that, I predict, is where he’s going.

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