Presidential candidate Barack Obama reacted to the weekend loss of nine US soldiers and wounding fifteen in Afghanistan by pledging to provide additional forces for those fighting in Afghanistan. “As president, I would pursue a new strategy and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghansitan. we need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence gathering and m ore non-military assistance to accomplish our mission there.” He argued America was “under-resourced” in Afghanistan where he believes the real center of terrorism is now located. He promised in an article published yesterday in The New York Times to have most US troops out of iraq by the summer of 2010.
Senator Obama’s idea of dispatching 10,000 additional troops to Afghanistan makes little sense unless the United States, NATO nations fighting in Afghanistan and the government of Afghanistan have a coherent policy in place to deal with not merely fighting insurgents, but creating a viable society in the nation. Bush has relied on military force as a substitute for “policy” and sending more troops merely continues policies that have failed. What are American and NATO goals in Afghanistan?
The reality is Afghanistan offers insurgents better positions to conduct guerrilla warfare. We can send 10,000 tomorrow, but next year there will be need for an additional 20,000. Obama has to break away from placating the American public by pretending he is as macho as McCain and address the need for a coherent foreign policy that encompasses all aspects of the Middle East– including Afghanistan.