President Barack Obama announced Friday that he is sending more troops to Afghanistan.
The far left is up in arms (no pun intended) over this “surge,” but there is really no need to be shocked; this was something the president promised to do during the campaign.
According to The New York Times, the new strategy adopted by Obama is to send 4,000 more soldiers to train the Afghan security forces in addition to the 17,000 combat troops he ordered at the beginning of his administration. Unfortunately though, there are several holes in the “surge.”
A little background information: Afghanistan is an important front and I applaud the administration for focusing on this. After the civil war in the 1980s tore apart the Afghani government, Osama bin Laden jumped at the opportunity to insert his terrorist regime and use it as a base to plan his attacks. The goal of Gen. David Petraeus and the surge is to prevent Afghanistan from becoming another stateless regime. If it does, then everything we have already accomplished there is a waste.
But the way Petraeus is going about it is fraught with mistakes.
First off, this is not even a “surge.” Petraeus does not have nearly enough troops and resources to get the job done. This is being done for as little money as possible. The announcement of troop increases to bolster our efforts in Afghanistan is accompanied by Obama’s promises of cutting the defense budget. It is a Catch-22, one that diminishes the safety and success of the military.
Secondly, the administration is developing “benchmarks” for progress in fighting this war on terror (or extremism, or whatever public relations disaster they decided to change the name to) and this is a big mistake. According to a recent New York Times article, they would be, by far, the strictest conditions ever imposed on the government in Kabul, partly because there have never been any “benchmarks” before at all.
“Benchmarks” did not make the difference in Iraq. Instead, they were imposed by Congress at an impossible standard, enabling them to proclaim a failure of the surge in Iraq when they were not met, even though the surge was ultimately successful.
The United States’ effort in Afghanistan is crucial to the war on terrorism. If the administration wants to ramp up the situation, then they should do it with vigor and enthusiasm, contributing every necessary resource, including troops and funding, without constraining themselves in fear of offending others.
Shane Rainey is a sophomore chemistry major from Fort Worth.