President Barack Obama has acted decisively to address America’s domestic problems and has shown an ability to identify issues and suggest solutions. However, his Afghanistan policy is marked by the opposite qualities of lack of inability to identify key issues or offer intelligent solutions. Within a month after taking office, he dispatched 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan on the assumption there was need for “more” troops. About 4,000 soldiers from 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team are being deployed to service in Afghanistan after returning from a tour in Iraq. They will shortly be followed by more troops and more troops on the mistaken assumption the problem is lack of soldiers and the solution is sending more soldiers.
The Obama solution is the exact one followed by the Soviet Union which eventually sent over 150,000 troops to Afghanistan and then departed in defeat. It is relatively easy to defeat an Afghan government, but extremely difficult to control the entire nation whose geography and historical resistance to outsiders lends itself to guerrilla warfare and a willingness to fight on and on into the indefinite future.
Obama must first step back, take a deep breath, and clearly identify key issues and alternative solutions. I do not wish to offer “the solution,” but it is necessary in Afghanistan to be absolutely positive as to the problem and alternative solutions. President Obama fails on both these points.