Let's get one thing straight right from the start. Sending more combat troops to Afghanistan does not mean that more Americans will die because more troops will be targets.
That tired old refrain is once again on the lips of every anti-military Democrat in Congress, and unfortunately the media laps it up like milk in a cat's saucer without ever questioning its veracity.
If it was true that having larger numbers of combat troops in any one location meant that more troops would die, then places like the Marine bases in Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, Camp Pendleton, California, and Army bases like Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Benning, Georgia and Fort Hood, Texas, would be the scenes of unending blood baths since so many combat troops are stationed there. And don't give me that combat zone nonsense either.
Ever since 9-11-01 the entirety of the United States has been a potential combat zone. The only reasons we haven't had more attacks on military installations as well as the civilian populace is because the Bush Administration put the apparatus in place to keep tabs on potential terrorists and intercept them before they can execute their plots.
In Afghanistan we need more troops to put the hammer down on Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the people who brought us the 9-11 attacks in the first place. We will have more casualties if we have fewer troops in Afghanistan because we won't have the ability to eliminate both the fighters and their bases. Also, the terrorists will see through our weaknesses and launch more massed attacks against under-defended outposts and installations.
If we do not put our best equipped and best trained people into the heart of enemy territory where they can eliminate the terrorists and destroy their ability to plan more attacks and counterattacks, not only will our troops be vulnerable to emboldened terrorists, but our civilian populace at home also will suffer.
There also is another facet that should be remembered. The populace in any contested country will lean toward and support the side that shows the most strength and the most determination. If America and its allies want the support of the populace they damn well better show the populace that we intend to win, and help them build a stable and long-standing government that will provide long-term protection.
If we continue to waver and appear uncertain the populace will hedge its bets and begin helping the Taliban on an even wider scale.
To avoid this scenario U.S. Army General Stanley McCrystal, with support from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, has asked for an additional 40,000 troops. This force will give us the ability to expand operations right into the Taliban's front yard, and, if coordinated with the ongoing offensive by the Pakistani army on their side of the border, could deliver a crushing blow to terrorism.
But rather than acquiesce to the General's request, President Obama is consulting soothsayers, casting bones, reading tea leaves, and yes, "dithering" while our troops are caught in a no-man's land between military necessity and political maneuvering.
If General McCrystal says he can do the job with 40,000 troops then Obama should give him 60,000 or even 80,000.
Why? Insurance, that's why.
With 60,000 to 80,000 troops we would have a sufficient reserve force on scene, we would be better able to rotate troops into and out of the most dangerous areas, giving everyone a bit more rest than was the case in Iraq, while keeping a sharp edge of experience in our operational forces.
If we don't we can be assured that this birthplace of a generation of terrorist attacks will spawn yet more suicide bombers and extremist plotters and America will once again be the target.
Just today the news is reporting that passports and other materials related to the 9-11 hijackers who flew commercial aircraft into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania were discovered in the possession of dead terrorists on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. There is no question that there is a direct link between those terrorists and their long-dead brethren who attacked the US.
So it is essential that President Obama listen to his military, and tune out the politicians, or before he can finish his first term, we will have been hit again. If we are attacked, no matter how hard his spokespeople try to blame it on George Bush, it will be Obama's fault and everyone will know it.
If we get hit again because President Obama did not give the military the tools to defeat these terrorists once and for all in that area, his legacy will be permanently set in stone as a weak-kneed, inexperienced, figurehead whose inability to make hard decisions led to the death of American citizens, at home and overseas.
It was a very nice and touching moment when the President went to Dover Air Force Base to stand in tribute as the bodies of Americans killed in Afghanistan were brought home for burial this week.
But photo ops do not win wars, and if the President continues to be indecisive, thus causing more American casualties, that photo showing him saluting the dead will become an Albatross that forever will be hung around his neck.
Sending people like John Kerry to Afghanistan for a military report on the situation is not helpful. Besides the fact that Kerry has no credibility whatsoever with the military or the veteran population, he simply doesn't the have real-world military experience to be considered an expert.
Kerry's abbreviated Vietnam tour has been shown conclusively to have been an all-out effort to get himself out of the war zone before he suffered any real injuries - and I don't mean slivers in his finger or pieces of rice embedded in his butt. Kerry's later association with communists and anti-American fake veterans should make his willingness to be part of any fact-finding effort suspect.
His motivations, his pro-communist agenda that resurfaced during the successful military operations in Iraq - that he opposed and now calls unnecessary - are more than sufficient proof that any information he delivers is tainted.
President Obama does not need a tidal wave of advice from every political hack from Washington to Chicago. He needs only to remember that battles are won by appropriate use of overwhelming force.
His generals are telling them what they need, bare minimum, to get the job done. He should respond by giving them more than they have requested, ensuring that our troops will never again be outnumbered and under siege at a remote outpost, with the enemy willing to suffer horrendous losses to win a public relations war in the US when there is no possibility of winning the shooting war in Afghanistan.
The truth of Vietnam, once again, is that the American military and its allies won every major engagement, annihilated both the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army and twice pushed the communists to the brink of surrender. Both times, they were rescued by political interference in the US and the result was the fall of much of Southeast Asia and the slaughter of millions of civilians by the communist hordes.
If President Obama wants to avoid a similar scenario in Afghanistan, that will be coupled with the certainty of further attacks on our country, then he must trust in the generals he placed there, trust in the troops they command, and give them more than they request. Otherwise, he most certainly will be labelled for eternity as having caused "another Vietnam"
Friday, October 30, 2009