In spite of the mounting criticism of the President taking too long in making his decision concerning the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan, I feel a decision of this magnitude demands as much time as necessary. I am hopeful that his decision will permit a successful resolution to the local issues affecting the region while at the same time protecting the long-term security of the United States.
Because of the gravity of the decision to commit more U.S. troops to the battlefield in Afghanistan, Obama should not be in a hurry to please his critics by making a rash choice. Rather he should use this time to evaluate the pros and cons of further involvement in the conflict. There is precedent for “due deliberation”; President Lincoln exposed himself to similar criticism when he was debating whether or not to commit the United States to a Civil War against the South. Obviously, the outcome of that decision was very positive: the preservation of the Union. Hopefully President Obama’s assessment of the appropriate actions in Afghanistan will lead to a similar outcome.
There are sufficient arguments to support increasing troop strength and successfully stabilizing the political and economic situation in Afghanistan. First, among these would be the security of the existing troops on the ground. By taking an offensive posture, made possible with the additional troops, our strategies can focus on attacking the Taliban strongholds rather than defending stationary positions currently designed to protect local towns. Typically when the strategy is to defend stationary encampments there is a higher risk of injury or death to the soldiers within the compound than when conducting aggressive campaigns against the enemy.
Second, by stabilizing the political situation in Afghanistan, the U.S. can hopefully develop a strong ally in the region, who can work with Pakistan and India in lessening the tensions between the three countries. Obviously it is important to neutralize the Taliban’s pressure on Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities and prevent a lethal threat to India’s democracy.
Finally, a definitive commitment by the U.S. against terrorism in this region will lessen the threat of further terrorism against the United States. Our resolute pursuit of all identified terrorists will keep the insurgents off balance and in retreat.
I recognize there are counter arguments to each of these points that are probably contributing to the delayed decision from the White House; however, this country needs leadership that rises above partisan politics. I feel this is the time for President Obama to recognize that the needs of the country should take precedence over trying to appease both sides of the argument. The stakes in this debate should start and stop with the safety of our troops and the preservation of American democracy. These principles need to be the guiding force behind the President’s ultimate decision.
I am confident that a commitment that supports military build up in the region, coupled with determined support of the economic and political development in Afghanistan, will increase Afghani safety and long-term security for the United States. We all have a stake in this important period in our history and regardless of your position you should make your opinion known. It is imperative that each of us stays involved in the political negotiations affecting our country.