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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Obama's Afghan Surge--> Will He See it Through?

The Pentagon has announced that it will add thirty-thousand troops to Afghanistan within the next six months, giving President-elect Barack Obama the battlefront he asked for...Afghanistan. All along Obama has said the Afghan theater was the one we should be fighting instead of Iraq. So now that he is getting the war he wanted the question arises, will he see it through? Based on the campaign we know that he will never admit that he was wrong, but what happens if the victory is not as swift as he Hopes? Will he cut and run from Afghanistan the way he wanted to cut and run out of Iraq?:

Obama's Surge


In October 2002, as President Bush and Congress were finalizing plans to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein's brutal regime, Obama told participants at an anti-war rally in Chicago that he didn't "oppose all wars," but was certainly against "a dumb war" that is "based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics."

If Obama is indeed against dumb wars — he repeated his opposition to the "dumb war" in Iraq several times in that speech — then we have to assume he is in favor of smart wars. And given his comments about Afghanistan — in July he said more troops needed to be deployed in that country, because it should be the central focus in the war on terrorism — we must conclude that fighting in Afghanistan is a smart war.

We don't disagree. The ruling Taliban, routed from the country nearly seven years ago but not destroyed, has to be eliminated with finality. Terrorist strongholds must be dismantled, violent uprisings snuffed out, links to Iran severed, and the government prevented from falling into chaos. The rugged, mountainous badlands around Afghanistan's border with Pakistan have to be brought under control.

But knowing what needs to be done and having the audacity to actually do it are not the same things.

Taming Afghanistan and exterminating the terrorist network operating there will require a determination that a Democratic administration might find tough to maintain. There will be intense pressure from the left to exit Afghanistan when the campaign becomes a slog, as it ineluctably will.

Simply reminding those who put Obama into office that he is fighting a smart war will not be enough to quell the yawping, because the only sound ringing in their ears is his well-known opposition to the war in Iraq and promises of a hasty exit that got him elected.

Consequently, Obama will have to develop the deep resolve that Bush demonstrated in fully finishing the job in Iraq. Despite great media and political pressure to flee Iraq when it looked to many as if the post-war insurgency was unwinnable, Bush remained unmoved because he refused to compromise national security. Obama will serve well both his and America's long-term interests if he employs the same steadfastness in regard to Afghanistan.

But while Iraq was being won, Afghanistan boiled over. Despite the quick vanquishing of the Taliban, a stable post-war state in this historically poor and troubled nation has been elusive, partly due to the Afghanistan government's failures, partly due to a measure of international negligence.

Without an escalation of troops and aggression similar to the surge that delivered Iraq, Afghanistan will remain one of the world's most troubled — and dangerous — spots.

Losing Afghanistan to radicals would be tragic, especially after the coalition so easily crushed the Taliban and spilled precious blood to do it. Terrorists should never be able to return to their sanctuaries, from where they can wage jihad against the innocent. They cannot be allowed to draw power from a perceived lack of U.S. strength, or from the sympathetic tribal areas.

In less than a month, Afghanistan will be Obama's war. By the summer, when as many as 30,000 U.S. troops are added to the 70,000-man coalition force, it will be Obama's surge. Should he fail to see it through to the end, he would be laying the foundation for a poor presidential legacy.

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