I have supported Obama strongly during the election and during his first year of Presidency. Still I cannot stand by his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. I realize that he said he would add troops during the campaign but I believed that was just posturing for those who said he was soft on defense. I don’t see his decision as a betrayal but as a continuance of a stupid belief of his that I overlooked due being caught up with the energy of the election.
We have been in Afghanistan for almost eight years and I have seen no improvements. We are not closer to finding Bin Laden, the Taliban is strong, the government is corrupt and warlords run the country.
To understand Afghanistan you need to understand its history. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and occupied the country for 10 years. Many credit their long occupation for the fall of communist Russia. The long occupation left more than one million Afghans dead, three million severely wounded and five million, a third of the Afghan population became refugees.
It was the CIA and the American government who funded and trained the insurgents against the Russian occupation, who were also known as the mujahideen. One prominent member of the mujahideen was a tall Saudi by the name of Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden and his cronies would use the same tactics they were taught by the CIA and become the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Obama said he is going to send more troops to Afghanistan to “finish the job.” What exactly is the job? To get Bin Laden? Does it take 40,00 soldiers to catch one man? Inelligence reports say that there are only 100 Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan. If Bush wasn’t able to get Bin Laden during 8 years off occupation, how many troops and how much more time is required to get them?
If Obama has learned anything from the Soviet occupation of Afghnisatn or the American occupation of Vietnam is that occupations do not fix a country’ problems but only create civilian casualties, corrupt governments and animosity towards the occupiers.
Just as the USA gave power to Bin Laden and the Taliban, when they funded and supported the mujahideen, now they have created a a narco-state full of corrupt officials, drug dealing warlords, lawlessness, and a resurgent Taliban. The CIA is putting drug lords on their payroll now just like they had radical jihadists on their payroll like Bin Laden 30 years ago.
The problem in Afghanistan is a political problem that needs a political solution, not a military problem that needs a military solution. Most of Al Qaeda has relocated to Pakistan. Bin Laden has been extremely successful with propaganda reaching out to the Muslim world. He has done it without an Army. Maybe if Obama continued to win the hearts and minds by speaking out to the Muslim world he could counter Bin Laden more effectively than by sending troops to occupy an Arab country.
Using a massive army to stop Bin Laden and Al Qaeda is like using a machine gun to kill a rat. To beat them we must be smart and crafty and use intelligence (in both sense of the word). More troops means more civilian casualties, more disgruntled soldiers and more civilians feeling oppressed by an occupation.
If you believe that a surge in Afghanistan will be successful like the like it was supposedly in Iraq, remember that many believe that the slow down in violence in Iraq was caused by ethnic cleansing and not the surge. I’m not sure if you are letting the military bully you around. The same generals who have not made any progress in Afghanistan in eight years should not have a say in the matter.
The $30 billion dollars being used in Afghanistan is about half our entire budget for education. During a recession when unemployment is at an all time high, is it wise to use so much government money for a cause you can’t even explain?
This decision is wrong for the country and wrong from the world. The lessons of history tell us that this is wrong. When the people of America elected Obama, they elected to change the way America does business in the world and this decision seems to be right out of the Bush playbook.