Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told reporters in Bucharest the United States was committed to extend its military presence in Afghanistan. He indicated President George Bush had told European nations attending the NATO meeting that more American soldiers would be dispatched to Afghanistan next year in addition to the 31,000 who presently serve. Gates also made clear that additional troops going to Afghanistan would not be impacted by any withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
The Gates comment reflects the determination of President Bush to continue his non-effective military ideas in Afghanistan. American troops have been fighting in that nation for nearly seven years and there is scant evidence the current strategy is working to defeat the Taliban. An emphasis upon military “victory” has always been prominent in the ideas of Bush although all indications are Afghanistan needs political and economic issues addressed. For example, farmers depend on the poppy crop and they cooperate with the Taliban who help them get out this important financial crop. Some experts have suggested purchasing the entire poppy crop to win farmers over and deny the Taliban an important source of revenue. This type of thinking is not going to occur as long as Bush is president.