Opposing Viewpoints on Afghanistan

The Washington Post has an op-ed by Congressman Ike Skelton, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee calling for sending more troops into Afghanistan:

Failure to provide Gen. McChrystal with the military resources he needs to reverse the insurgency’s momentum would make all these challenges harder to manage by reinforcing doubts throughout the region about our commitment to this fight and our capacity to prevail in it. But if we can roll back the Taliban and establish basic security in key population centers, as a properly resourced counterinsurgency will allow us to do, it will put us in a position of far greater strength and credibility from which to convince Afghans and others throughout the region that it is in their interest and worth the risk to work with us.

Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee argues against sending in more forces on CNN’s State of the Union. While Kerry is hesitant to go along with McChrystal’s call for additional forces, he does cite another point made by McChrystal:

Sen. John Kerry cautioned President Obama Saturday against raising troop levels in Afghanistan, saying it would be “entirely irresponsible” to do so while the Afghan government remains in turmoil following national elections.

“It would be entirely irresponsible for the president of the United States to commit more troops to this country, when we don’t even have an election finished and know who the president is and what kind of government we’re working in, with,” Kerry told CNN’s John King in an interview set to air Sunday at 9 a.m. on State of The Union.

Speaking from Afghanistan, Kerry, who is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S. should listen to the advice of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in that country.

“When our own, you know, commanding general tells us that a critical component of achieving our mission here is, in fact, good governance, and we’re living with a government that we know has to change and provide it, how could the president responsibly say, oh, they asked for more, sure, here they are?,” Kerry said.

President Obama and his advisers have held five meetings in recent weeks to discuss U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they continue to weigh a call from Gen. McChrystal for as many as 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan.

However, complaints of voter irregularities have dogged the Afghanistan election and the United States’ mission there. The top United Nations official in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour earlier this month that the vote was marred by “widespread fraud.”

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11 Comments

  1. 1
    RealLiberal says:

    I really dont see what sending more troops would accomplish. Afghanistan is not iraq, they do not have the funds needed to sustain an army once we leave.

    I dont like the idea of leaving and having the taliban regain control once we leave but unless we go into pakistan i dont see how defeating the taliban or al qaeda is possible.

  2. 2
    RealLiberal says:

    “President Obama and his advisers have held five meetings in recent weeks to discuss U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they continue to weigh a call from Gen. McChrystal for as many as 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan.”

    Ive heard anywhere from 20K-80K

  3. 3
    RealLiberal says:

    Why are my comments being labeled as spam and not posted??

  4. 4
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I have a hard time making up my mind about Afghanistan. I was, perhaps mistakenly, in favor of the original deposition of the Taliban and the attempts to capture Bin Laden. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. We’re now talking about a massive nation building effort even more difficult than Iraq with no guarantees of being able to come close to Bin Laden, who is in all likelihood in Pakistan now.
     
    Whether it is feasible to just leave is a difficult question. I don’t think anything should be done without proper discretion and consideration. But it is very possible that an exit strategy is necessary. On the other hand, quite a few people will be in danger if we leave and they will be in danger because they sided with us while we were there.
     
    It’s a tricky moral question for which there is no easy answer and most of the partisans on either side of the argument have too many easy answers and not enough thoughtful silences. I do think Kerry makes some good points and I do think he is trying to remember the nuances of the situation.
     

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    RealLiberal,

    Comments are labeled spam by a third party ad-in to the blog software which shares data with numerous sites. I can’t say for sure why it picked up some of your comments as spam. Maybe the number of comments in a short time triggered something (especially if you were also commenting on other blogs).

  6. 6
    Sandy says:

    Code Pink is even having a difficult time with Afghanistan.   While they continue to support withdrawal and Afghan women who support withdrawal, they also recognize that some of the strongest advocates for women in Afghanistan say they need the troops to stay.

    Masooda Jamal told Medea Benjamin “It is good for Afghanistan to have more troops – more troops committed with the aim of building peace and against war, terrorism, and security – along with other resources,” she answered. “Coming together they will help with better reconstruction.”

    Hopefully they will come up with a strategy that gains the cooperation of the people because that’s the only way there will be any stability in Afghanistan.

    http://obama-mamas.com/blog/?p=437

  7. 7
    Canada Guy says:

     
    The War in Afghanistan is over, it’s all about saving face now.

    http://watching-history.blogspot.com/2009/10/war-in-afghanistan-2001-201x.html

  8. 8
    RealLiberal says:

    “Hopefully they will come up with a strategy that gains the cooperation of the people because that’s the only way there will be any stability in Afghanistan.”

    I think a better relationship with the afghani people would be helpful while we have troops there and that a different policy towards their opem trade would go a long way.

    However i dont think it is possible for even a unified afghanistan to stand up against the taliban once we leave.

    There are 4 choices, as i see it.
    1) We can continue our military policy of trying to protect there borders and change our policies to try to earn support from the afghans. But this leaves us with no pull out option.
    2)Pull out completely.
    3)Keep troops there forever
    4)Go into pakistan and take the fight to the taliban and al-qaeda, then leave.
    Personally i like the latter. Its the most politically difficult but its the only way i see of keeping afghanistan al qaeda free without keeping our troops there indefinitely.   

  9. 9
    RealLiberal says:

    “The War in Afghanistan is over, it’s all about saving face now.”     
    Thats the second best option IMHO.

  10. 10
    Anonymous says:

    Canada Guy,
    Not true at all, my cousin in the Marines still has to go back to Afghanistan, as long him and other troops still have to go back the war is not techinacally over. They are still fighting and struggling to maintain peace.

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    I don’t think he was saying that the war is over in that the fighting has stopped. I took his comment to mean that a negative outcome has already been decided and they are keeping troops there in order to try to limit the negative effects and save face. Time will tell if he is right.

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