support the troops

In the previous thread “Afghanistan/ Vietnam” Ephlbog author Ronit highlighted Political Science professor James McAllister’s sweeping comparisons of Afghanistan and Vietnam. Articlesopinion pieces in this vain have been popping up quite often recently.

In his recent report General Stanley A. McChrystal continually calls for increased troop levels and states emphatically:

“Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”

“This is a struggle for the support of the Afghan people. Our willingness to operate in ways that minimize casualties or damage — even when doing so makes our task more difficult — is essential to our credibility,” McChrystal said. “I cannot overstate my commitment to the importance of this concept.”

To Which the WH responded:

White House officials say the president stands by the comments he made at the weekend when he told talk shows that he is hesitant to escalate the numbers of troops in Afghanistan but agrees that a new strategy is required to combat the Taliban and al-Qaida. “Until I’m satisfied that we’ve got the right strategy, I’m not going to be sending some young man or woman over there beyond what we already have,” Obama said on Meet the Press.

Such is politics. President Obamas lukewarm response has to give pause to those of us who believe we need to win in Afghanistan.  Obama continually promised the electorate that he believed in the war, and that he would not let us falter in the conflict. General McChrystal is a very capable expert who was given the time and resources to do a full analysis of the situation on the ground, and come up with a plan to win.  McChrystal continually warns throughout his report that increased numbers and a tactical shift is needed now if we are going to succeed.

What we may find is that liberal baby boomer fear of conflict and the demons of their generation push the polity to ignore the military experts and follow a course that leads to a self fulfilling prophesy. We may indeed come to a point historically where comparison of these two wars is viable. We defeat ourselves, because we cannot summon the will to win.

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