Today's Question: Should the U.S. commit more troops to Afghanistan?

Monday, September 28, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

In a confidential assessment of the war in Afghanistan leaked last week to the Washington Post, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal warns that without additional troops the conflict “will likely result in failure.” President Obama and his advisers are now reviewing the report, and will likely receive a request for an estimated 10,000 to 40,000 troops.

McChrystal’s report calls for expanding a counterinsurgency campaign announced in March to “disrupt, dismantle, and defeat” al-Qaida in the region. The strategy turns many aspects of traditional warfare on its head, emphasizing the importance of protecting civilians over just engaging insurgents, restricting airstrikes to reduce civilian casualties and sharply expanding the Afghan security forces and accelerating their training.

But the release of the report comes at a time when there is growing concern about America’s eight-year involvement in Afghanistan and confusion as to the guiding strategy in the region. Obama has declared Afghanistan a “war of necessity,” but increasing levels of violence and allegations of ballot fraud in the country’s recent presidential election have eroded support for the war.

Some of Obama’s advisers have called for significantly different approaches to the war. Vice President Joe Biden, for example, has urged Obama to adopt a strategy focusing on military strikes against al-Qaida in Pakistan and the Taliban in Afghanistan, which would likely require fewer troops.

Obama has scheduled at least five meetings with his national security team over the next weeks to re-examine the strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, two of which will be held this week. He has not said when he will announce his decision.

Should the U.S. commit more troops to Afghanistan? Why or why not?

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Charles Dudley Jr September 28, 2009 | 12:19 p.m.

Obama got stuck with Afghanistan because Bush failed to get the job done and now Obama has to clean up that mess too just like he is having to clean up the financial mess as well.

This kind of clean up takes years and years and cannot be accomplished over night by any means.

Military historians world wide have declared that Afghanistan is one of those places that major super powers who have tried to fight wars in have repeatedly been defeated due to terrain and the population itself. Just look to and ask the Russians how many soldiers they lost and how many disabled veterans they have due to their incursions into that region.

Being Afghanistan is and was one of the major world suppliers of Opium for the world itself there are alot of problems in gaining any or much support from the farming population due to that is and has been their main source of income above all other crops planted.

IMHO Obama needs to get out of there gracefully as possible if there is not a bigger role by the United Nations itself in this region with in the next year.

I highly doubt we can get out of Afghanistan very gracefully now that the Bush Administration has planted us there because as the old war adage still goes "If you invade it you better just plan on staying there for a very long time".

Thank you to the Bush Administration for leaving us another Vietnam with thousands of dead and crippled American Veterans whom you only give the minimal of care to instead of giving them all of the care they deserve.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 28, 2009 | 1:36 p.m.

No, if Obama wanted to get out of Afganistan, he could pull the plug pretty quickly. There was division amongst the Taliban if they should allow bin Laden to set up in Afghanistan before 9/11. The US presence there is only a destabilizing influence to both Afghanistan and Pakistan. If Obama had any sense, he would pull the troops out instead of considering a surge. Again, another case where Obama is Bush 44.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock September 28, 2009 | 5:02 p.m.

Here is a interesting story that will not make Columbia's papers.

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Charles Dudley Jr September 28, 2009 | 9:47 p.m.

John Schultz so just how is Obama to pull the plug with out making us look like bigger fools than we already are?

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John Schultz September 28, 2009 | 9:59 p.m.

Oh now you have to put a precondition on any withdrawals? I don't care if "we" look like fools, US interests are not being served in Afghanistan after the Taliban were booted, elections were held, and bin Laden was not captured or killed to the best of our knowledge.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 29, 2009 | 4:49 a.m.

>>> I don't care if "we" look like fools, <<<

There ladies and gentlemen is the pride of the Libertarian Party of Boone County. :)

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox September 29, 2009 | 7:36 a.m.


You don't seem to mind looking like a fool so what's your problem? Better we kill off a few thousand more U.S. Soldiers so we can delay the eventual withdrawal?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 29, 2009 | 8:21 a.m.

So sorry that I have more principle in my pinky finger than most of the people you have been exposed to, Chuck. Just calling it as I see it, something you claim to do often. If you don't like my opinion, try to refute it or debate it instead of being your snarky self.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 29, 2009 | 9:27 a.m.

The point is that you fail to miss and even comprehend John Schultz is that our world reputation for just this kind of invade,conquer and leave with out doing squat has brought this country to the point it is at now on the world stage and you want to make it worse?

Sure I can see the cut and run idea plainly and if we could do it logically and planned correctly I would even go to the extreme of saying "Hell ya bring ALL of our troops home from all over the world and let them fight it out amongst themselves instead of us playing referee all of the time" but that is just not logical even in this instance.

We the USA are like the cork in the bottle that keeps this world itself from blowing itself to hell because of all of the tension.

Now if you and others like you really want to pull and remove that cork out of the bottle are you also willing to be responsible for millions of deaths not only around the world but here in our own country too? Well are you?

I highly doubt you are John just as nobody in their correct frame of mind would drop a lit match into a open bottle of Nitro either.

Now if the United Nations actually had a set of nuts to begin with and we would stop being their puppet police force for a change this might all be different in comparison to what we have to work with now.

I agree we must withdraw but we must do it the right way and not the wrong way as you are wanting because your way will get us nowhere but deeper in unpopularity than we are now.

If you want to blame some one for all of those deaths of our people in Afghanistan you can start with our last President and work your way backward to the beginning of this obvious mess that should never have been allowed to happen to begin with.

I guess the questions at that time are still the same as they are now:

1 Are we willing to pop the cork out of the bottle and take our chances and consequences with what might happen?

2: Which is the long term worse scenarios of the two evils of this issue?

John Schultz how much do you wanna bet world leaders around this world ask themselves those same two questions every day?

Which do you suggest John Schultz? Do we go dancing with the Devil or not? Just remember either choice is still a now win for somebody but to which level are you willing to sacrifice who knows how many millions of innocent lives to achieve your final goals.

This is not a game but this is our reality we all must live with daily.

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