Skip to comments.Worldview: Signs of Hope in Obama's Afghan Plan
Posted on 03/29/2009 1:39:40 AM PDT by nickcarraway
Now that President Obama has announced his new strategy for Afghanistan, you may be focused on the number of new troops that will deploy there: 17,000 on the way, with 4,000 more trainers and advisers to join them by fall.
Before you think "quagmire," consider what, to my mind, makes this plan so impressive: The troop increase is part of a much broader strategy encompassing the entire South Asia region. It emphasizes economic aid and diplomacy as much as guns.
As Richard Holbrooke, Obama's special representative for AfPak, put it: "The media is talking about a military surge. What Obama is talking about is a comprehensive surge." The word comprehensive is key.
This approach contrasts sharply with the Bush administration's narrow take on the Iraq war, which ignored Iraq's neighbors and permitted al-Qaeda and the Taliban to regroup on the AfPak border. After talking with key civilian and military contributors to Obama's new strategy, here are some points that I find especially hopeful in the plan.
Obama clarifies our purpose in Afghanistan. Many Americans wonder why we should invest more lives and treasure in this remote land. As the president spells out, were the Taliban to retake Afghanistan, that country would once again become a base for al-Qaeda and its allies. This would pose a threat not only to us, but to Europe, Asia, and Africa, which have all suffered from al-Qaeda attacks.
The increases in U.S. troop levels aim to counter Taliban gains in certain areas of the country, while we train more Afghan soldiers and deal with jihadis in neighboring Pakistan.
The president recognizes that Pakistan is a crucial part of the problem. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have set up safe havens in Pakistan's tribal areas on the Afghan border. Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies are more focused on fighting their old enemy, India, and are reluctant to cut old ties with the Taliban and some jihadi groups.
Many argue that U.S. military aid to Pakistan should be made conditional on better behavior. For now, the strategy calls for Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus, Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, and Holbrooke to meet frequently with the prickly Pakistanis and remind them of the threat the terrorists present to their country. Witness Friday's terrorist bombing of a Pakistani mosque that killed 50.
U.S. officials will be blunt if they know they are being lied to about continued Pakistani help to the Taliban. If the United States has intelligence on high-level targets in the tribal areas and Pakistan won't act, we will.
This Administration is so full of itself, and its 1984 Newspeak, I cannot fully comprehend the stupidity of the populace to swallow the pablum they are fed.
ON THE INTERNET:
Who said that?
If you said President Bush, you are correct. The statement came as President Bush was announcing additional troops to Afghanistan for 2009 which was criticized by The One.
Later the next month President Bush announced it was going to be 12,000 to 15,000 additional troops and that too was criticized by almost all the Democrats claiming it would increase US Troop death in Afghanistan when all we needed was a “Diplomatic Surge”.
Now Obama plans to send 21,000 troops and suddenly it's embraced by the world.
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