Following fast on the heels of President Obama signing the stimulus bill on Tuesday came the news that he “would send an additional 17,000 American troops to Afghanistan this spring and summer, putting his stamp firmly on a war that he has long complained is going in the wrong direction.”
The new order from the Obama administration increses the troop level in Afghanistan by nearly 50% and White House officials said, “[a] further decision on sending more troops will come after the administration completes a broader review of Afghanistan policy.”
Mr. Obama said in a written statement that the increase was “necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires.”
At least for now, Mr. Obama’s decision gives American commanders in Afghanistan most but not all of the troops they had asked for. But the decision also carries political risk for a president who will be sending more troops to Afghanistan before he has begun to fulfill a promised rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Many experts worry that Afghanistan presents an even more formidable challenge for the United States than Iraq does, particularly with neighboring Pakistan providing sanctuary for insurgents of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The announcement, which was expected, drew heat from anti-war groups before it was even made. Knowing he was stepping into the frying pan, Obama also noted in his statement that “the fact that we are going to responsibly draw down our forces in Iraq allows us the flexibility to increase our presence in Afghanistan.”
AP News reported yesterday that the U.N. said in a new report that “the number of Afghan civilians killed in armed conflict surged to a record 2,118 people last year as the Afghan war turned increasingly bloody.”
This is now Obama’s war on terror, compliments of BushCo. The question for many of us to President Obama is simply, “when will it end?” There really is no doubt things have heated up there and it’s the war we should have been fighting, but “when will it end?” And how many more American lives will be lost?
[Originally published at TaylorMarsh.com]