The lead General of NATO has called for more troops and police in Afghanistan. What will the U.S. do and where will we stand on this? Nothing is certain- but what can we learn from looking at our history over the last decades?
The last two presidents have been dramatically different in their agendas, political viewpoints, and initiatives in office. I know few people who would make any comparisons between current president Barack Obama and former president George W. Bush. The social and environmental agendas are starkly different, and their ways of speaking and communicating in general couldn’t be more different. But to date, they have both been heavily involved in the same two wars- Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort,” Nato General Stanley McChrystal said.
The big news is that General McChrystal wants the Afghan army and police force almost doubled to 300,000- it is currently around 160,000. In the U.S., you can be sure that this kind of talk will be setting off red flags with everyone who has been pushing so hard for the withdrawal from Iraq. Will the troops coming out of Iraq not be home afterall and instead in a new, different country with another long war? 8 years and we are no closer to any kind of “Victory” than when we supposedly toppled the Taliban in 2001.
Botg wars have served to enhance our strategic positions and have cost significant lives- both American and foreign. There are important strategic positions both physically and politically that we now hold that we would not have if it weren’t for these invasions. Ongoing wars, on the other hand, under the guise of stabilizing a new democratic government ring somewhat false when those stabilizations require more troops than the initial attack and assault. Are we on our way out of Iraq to build up our Afghan force?
Eisenhower warned us of a military-industrial climax over 50 years ago, and while I am not going to cry conspiracy theory or anything like that, it is clear that the U.S. is a military nation. This is what we have done for years, decades- for as long as we have been a country. Should it be that way? That's a tough question. Would the world be better off if the U.S. sat largely on the sidelines and let other countries work out the dictator and destructive government issues? That we can't say. Does the military and doing battle, to protect both reactively and proactively, does it define who and what America is both in the domestic and national eye? Without question.
So why do I say all of this? Because the head of NATO just called for a doubling of troop numbers and that meand big time decisions for the U.S.
Because we are in the middle of some high profile legislative battles right now- healthcare reform, environmental legislation. Both loom large on the political horizon. I found this piece of news out through Al-Jazeera- the world is watching to see what we will do in Afghanistan. If history is any guide, we will increase the troops under some reason or another. And we will stay in Iraq for as long as we need to. It may be one of the things that defines America- we fight. Ask different people for different wars or conflicts and you will get different answers, but we fight.
What will Obama and NATO do in Afghanistan? Will they follow the predictions of history or will they choose a new path?