Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Go Big or Go Home

October 6, 2009 By Amanda Reinecker

Moving forward in Afghanistan

Last Saturday, eight American servicemen and two Afghan policemen were killed in a terrorist assault in Afghanistan.

This blow comes at a critical point in the war, when General Stanley McChrystal, the NATO commander, has reportedly asked President Obama for an additional 40,000 U.S. troops in order to beat the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Despite pledges to improve security in Afghanistan, the President now seems on the fence about fulfilling his commander's request.

McChrystal has offered a promising strategy for the war. President Obama would be wise to embrace this long view strategy, writes Heritage's Conn Carroll in the Morning Bell, "and avoid short-sighted policies that undermine our friends in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while encouraging our enemies."

Americans should pay close attention to the path President Obama chooses in Afghanistan, since his decision will prove critical to America's national security interests, write Heritage Foundation experts Lisa Curtis and James Phillips.

"There appears to be some wishful thinking within the Obama Administration regarding the U.S's ability to negotiate a political solution with the Taliban," write Curtis and Phillips. But negotiations have yet to work with al-Qaeda and Taliban, who are now more unified than ever by their anti-Western aims.

As Henry Kissinger wrote in Newsweek, "even so-called realists -- like me -- would gag at a tacit U.S. cooperation with the Taliban in the governance of Afghanistan."

Recent U.S. gains in Pakistan provide sufficient evidence that we can succeed, but only with continued dedication and support in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. "Now is the time to demonstrate military resolve in Afghanistan so that al-Qaeda and its affiliates will be squeezed on both sides," insist Curtis and Phillips. "Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, nor will public support."

Yet the Left continues to stall any decision by pressuring the White House to devise an exit strategy and refuse any additional troops. President Obama should ignore
the partisan rhetoric. Instead, he should trust the expertise and judgment of those he personally appointed to lead.

"If the Obama administration chooses to deny its field commander's request for more troops and instead seeks to engage Taliban leaders in negotiations with the vain hope that these militants will break from their al-Qaeda allies, the results will likely be disastrous," warn Curtis and Phillips.

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