On March 27, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama, who is under immense pressure from the right and the left in the U.S. as he contemplates whether to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, told the nation and the world:
As President, my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people…We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists. So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future…To achieve our goals, we need a stronger, smarter and comprehensive strategy.
He is still reviewing his strategy amid growing American and International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF) deaths in Afghanistan
. Andrew Grice,
political editor of The Independent
of London asserts in a November 6, 2009 post that Mr. Obama is coming under mounting international pressure to make an early decision on his strategy in Afghanistan
amid fears of a dangerous drift as he agonises over his next moves.” See “Frustration mounts over Obama's fatal indecision
The Daily Telegraph of London claims it “has learned that there is growing frustration in Whitehall at the US president’s prolonged deliberations over Afghanistan.” See “Barack Obama's 'dithering' hurts Afghan mission, British sources say.” Writes Political Correspondent James Kirkup:
Since early September, Mr Obama has been considering a review of Afghan strategy by General Stanley McChrystal, who has advised the president to send an extra 40,000 US troops to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Tom Gjelten
at National Public Radio in the United States
says: “Before American commanders and policymakers settle on what to do next in Afghanistan, they need to agree on whom they are fighting. Is the enemy the Taliban, al-Qaida or some other force?” See “Defining 'The Enemy' In Afghanistan
I think he may have a point here. Just who is the U.S. fighting and why? Former US Foreign Service Officer Matthew P. Hoh provides one of the best arguments for not sending more troops to Afghanistan and bringing home those already there.
For more on the Afghanistan War debate, please see:
Obama's Partisan Balancing Act on Afghanistan – U.S. News & World Report
Recognizing the Limits of American Power in Afghanistan – The Huffington Post
Anti-American rumors gain traction in Afghanistan – The Baltimore Sun
Matthew Hoh resigns to stir debate on Afghanistan. Mission accomplished – The Christian Science Monitor
Getting lost in Afghanistan – Guardian.co.uk
Karzai as Diem – Antiwar.com