Archive | 11:15 am

30K on Their Way

7 Dec

It has taken me a while to formalize an appropriate post regarding the President’s announcement last week that 30,000 troops would be deployed to Afghanistan in the coming year.  Honestly, a part of it was because I wanted to see how both the Republicans and the Democrats would react, but also, trying to reconcile the decision in my own mind has taken some getting used to.

 

I think it’s safe to state that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are both conflicts which continue to be difficult challenges for the United States.  The minor advancements in Iraq (significant in their own right, but still only a small percentage of the whole war to categorize the entire mission as a “complete” one) now seem to outweigh the number of reports we’ve heard as of late regarding any notable uprisings or rebellions in that region.  This progress has undoubtedly assisted with the country’s shift in attention back to the war in Afghanistan. 

 

Almost a year into his presidency, and true to his word during the Presidential Campaign, Mr. Obama addressed the Nation last Tuesday about his stance on “the Good War” and his plans to send another 30,000 military personnel to Afghanistan – with an eighteen month withdrawal timetable.  Now, I stand among those who seek to have ALL of our combat troops returned home to their families, but I understand that since we are overseas fighting a war (or two) unfortunately of our own making, it is important that we finish the job to ensure that more potential terrorists and insurgents are not bolstered by our premature withdrawal and departure.  But can Mr. President ensure an American victory or any substantial changes in the region within an eighteen month time-period, for a war that has essentially been in the making since the 1970’s and has exasperated the U.S. Armed Forces for the better part of nine years now?

 

Let me be clear, my issue isn’t so much with this newly planned troop deployment in order to get the mission in Afghanistan finally resolved, but instead the president’s allocation of so many American assets (30K to be exact) in such a short period of time to fight a war with affects that resonate around the world, not just with the United States.  Why aren’t we hearing similar commitments from our allies to send troops to Afghanistan to help crush the Taliban?  Why does the U.S.’s scheduled troop deployment more than quadruple what NATO has said they will send to the region?  Our military’s presence and operations there have undoubtedly been integral  in minimizing and preventing terrorist activity, and I’d like to believe that our armed forces can deliver a MISSION ACCOMPLISHED in Afghanistan in eighteen months, but how can that truly be realized when we are basically, “going it alone”?  While the argument may have been valid in the past, how can the nations of the world criticize the United States of “policing” around the globe, yet are reluctant to contribute their own national manpower and funding toward a very global war against terror?

Although this matter shouldn’t be a conservative or liberal issue (triggering both sides to posture and quarrel about the motives behind the president’s decision, the reality of a timetable and the continuation of the war) but instead one where all parties agree toward the common goal of quelling terrorism in the Middle East, disbanding the Taliban and further securing our borders; I do not think there will ever be a political position (especially one regarding war) that will appease everyone.  From some liberal’s assertions that the additional troop surge will begin a legacy for Obama as yet another “War President” to some conservative’s declaration that an eighteen month timetable makes the United States look weak and indecisive, it just goes to show that decisions regarding war can oftentimes be unpopular ones, no matter what the reasoning.

 

No matter what side of the war argument you are on however, it is important to remember that there are soldiers fighting and dying daily, and if nothing else, we (civilians, critics, backers, etc.) must be committed to their continued support as they campaign abroad, and especially when they return home.  With the current conditions in Afghanistan and the “will we/won’t we” support of our allies and NATO, time will tell if that return falls within the president’s eighteen month window.

 

I’m Packing Up,

~Tiff

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