Obama’s Afghanistan Test – by Michael Reagan


Gen. Stanley McChrystal, President Obama’s personal choice to lead U.S. and coalition forces and operations in Afghanistan, has officially made a request for between 30,000 and 40,000 additional troops. He asserts that without this troop infusion, we run a very real risk of failing to meet our military objectives in Afghanistan, failing to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and ruining the hope of providing a stable enough atmosphere that the Afghan military and police can eventually assume control of their internal security and defend against external threats.

McChrystal is not alone in this request. Gen. David Petraeus, the brilliant architect and manager of the United States’ successful “surge” in Iraq who now commands United States Central Command, has attached his name to the growing list of supporters for the troop increase request. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has also indicated that more troops will be needed to avoid failure in Afghanistan.

Avoiding failure on this front is a non-negotiable. Such a failure, in both military and political terms, would be catastrophic to American interests at home and abroad. Such a scenario would likely include a revitalized Taliban and Al Qaeda that are ceded strategic territory in which to thrive, train and plot. And just as importantly, it would give these murderous thugs the type of public relations victory they have been seeking since the September 11 attacks — similar to their failed effort to bog down and cause a hasty retreat of U.S. troops in Iraq.

President Obama, it is time to listen to your field generals over liberal Washington politicos, just as you did in February of this year when you approved an initial increase of 21,000 troops. President Obama, it is now time to give Gen. McChrystal the troops he needs to get the job done.

There is no doubt that sending our brave men and women into harm’s way is one of the most difficult decisions a president has to make. No one should criticize the president for taking a few weeks to thoroughly review this latest request — especially in light of our numerous obligations throughout the globe which have stretched our troops and their equipment quite thin recently. A troop increase of this magnitude requires consideration and long-term planning.

However, in this case, I am concerned that the president is weighing not only the military calculations, but that, due to his political party’s internal politics, he is also being forced to weigh the intra-Democratic Party political consequences of his decisions at a time when liberal voters, interest groups and political operations are gearing up for the critical 2010 mid-term elections.

President Obama owes much of his success in the primary elections to his early opposition to the Iraq War, and the loyalty that gave him from the anti-war left. Now some of that block are trying to collect on a conflict where not long ago President Obama told us, “the world cannot afford the price that will come due if Afghanistan slides back into chaos.”

Vice President Biden has also been in his ear opposing the troop level recommendations. Speaker Pelosi and the lead Democratic Senator on the Armed Services Committee have both stated their strong opposition to any additional troops. Some have even started to talk of a timetable for withdrawal.

There are no easy decisions when waging a war. Right now though, President Obama has personally talked with the commanding officer in Afghanistan only once in the 70 days Gen. McChrystal has been in command, and I can guess how that stacks up against conversations with his party’s vocal left-wing. There may not be easy decisions, but the best decision our president could make right now is to turn that ratio inside out so that he can start making the right decisions to win this war and bring our troops home with victory.

  • ApolloSpeaks

    While we are narrowly focused on the Afghan War and defeating the Iranian backed Taliban Iran's hegemony over Iraq is growing as Maliki and company see the writing on the wall: OBAMA IS WEAK AND AMERICA IS IN RETREAT.

    The real Vietnam will be in Iraq not Afghanistan as Ahmad and the nuclear mullahs prepare to fill the deadly power vacuum left by America's regional withdrawal. As the Demoocrats lost South Vietnam to the North so are we now in the process of losing Iraq to Iran. Unless we take action to topple the mullahs Iraq and the Persian Gulf will come under their terrifying control.

    Google ApolloSpeaks and read my piece: The Coming Iranian Civil War and the End of the Nuclear Mullahs.

  • ApolloSpeaks

    Neither. Iraq is practically an economic client state of Iran's. Iran's influence inside the country continues to grow exponentially as American clout and credibility wanes. As Ahmad said in 2007: We will fill the vacuum left by America's retreat from the region. Iran's evil star is rising and soon it will cast its deadly shadow over the Middle East.

  • brenanc

    Did you see this in the stars, or is this piece solely a product of your native intellect?

  • USMCSniper

    Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war. Muslims are like the Orcs of Middle Earth. Kill 'em all, put 'em all in piles and burn 'em and let Allah sort 'em out. God will love us for it because we will keep heaven supplied with lots and lots of fresh raghead souls. And there is nothing like smell of a pile of burning ragheads in the early morning – that is the smell of vistory in the air!

  • USMCSniper

    President Obama has more important things to do like keeping the death tax. I'm sure the Obama administration will “do the right thing” by appointing a death czar to extract all gold fillings before those dead soldiers are buried and give them to some Democrat supporter who is far “more deserving”.

  • coyote3

    You certainly have a way with words. And I thought Spanish was beautiful language?

    I was in one war that was “won”, but sold out politically. So, I am not really as hawkish as some would believe. I am almost to the point of wanting to bring them all home, because the people they are fighting for, both “in country” and back in the “world” are not worthy. However, if we must fight, and I have had severe arguments with people here about this, the most extreme, the most intense, the most vicious, and the most destructive, will shorten the fight and save lives. Problem is, the last time we did that, was WWII, and even then there was politcal correctness afoot. So nice thought, but no one is going to do that.

  • LucyQ

    Since when is our goal in Afghanistan been to war with the Taliban? Even though Johnson is obviously uncomfortable in the role of critical thinking, even he should know as a basic fact about the ME that most tribes wander in and out of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan; that there are family ties that go back hundreds of years. With that said, then it must be acknowledged that without direct US invasion of all three nations, we will fail in one of them.

    Since we don't have the soldiers nor the cash to invade all three simultaneously, we ought to get out now while we can. If we haven't caught bin Laden after eight long years, the goal of our going into Afghanistan, not getting the Taliban, we ought to leave. Reality dictates bin Laden isn't where we're looking for him.

  • LucyQexposer

    The United States respects the people of Afghanistan — after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid — but we condemn the Taliban regime.


    It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists.

    By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder. And tonight the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban.

    Deliver to United States authorities all of the leaders of Al Quaeda who hide in your land.


    Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. And hand over every terrorist and every person and their support structure to appropriate authorities.

    Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.

    These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion.


    The Taliban must act and act immediately.

    They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate.

    I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.


    The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself.

    The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends. It is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.