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stevenleser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-16-07 05:38 AM
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Afghanistan NATO Surge Sought by US to Stem Taliban Tide

December 16, 2007

Afghanistan NATO Surge Sought by US to Stem Taliban Tide

By Steven Leser

A few weeks ago on November 25th, I wrote this piece explaining that very shortly, the Bush administration would attempt to implement a surge in Afghanistan to turn back an unexpected resurgence of the Taliban. I received many responses and emails telling me that I was wrong and that this would not happen. This past Thursday, December 13th, my prediction came true.

At a NATO meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates pressed hard for NATO to send additional troops to Afghanistan to push back this latest Taliban offensive.

My prediction was based on a report by the UK based Senlis Council, which says a doubling of the NATO troop presence from 40,000 to 80,000 is what is needed, the Taliban now have an effective operating presence in over 50% of Afghanistan and are winning the war for the hearts and minds of alarming amounts of the Afghan people. Anyone who wants to understand what is happening in Afghanistan should read this whole report.

Also, according to CNN Gates wants NATO to adopt and publish a short statement -- the first of its kind, according to his aides -- that would spell out briefly and plainly why the war is important, what U.S. and allied troops are doing there and how they can help the Afghan government. This is interesting because it is the first of its kind, comes six years into the war and less than three weeks after my above article which ended with our Afghanistan policies should undergo a complete review to determine what it is we are trying to do there, what would constitute success and if it is achievable and consistent with the desires of the Afghan people. We should not continue this administration's policies of failure.

At the NATO conference, Gates called for NATO to send less than 10,000 additional troops. I think that is a mistake. If there are achievable military and/or political successes to be had in Afghanistan, they will not be achieved by half measures. This administration has a track record of not committing enough troops in Afghanistan to get the job done and the Taliban and al Qaeda have shown that if they are not completely destroyed, they will rebound and become stronger than ever. If NATO performs the review for which I have called and drafts the statement for which Gates has now called and from that NATO determines that NATO and NATO troops have a positive role to be played in Afghanistans future, then NATO and the US need to commit the amount of troops called for by the Senlis Council.

The problem of course then becomes that NATO does not want to commit 40,000 troops and the US does not have 40,000 troops to spare. The US does not have 40,000 troops to spare because it has troops bogged down in an unnecessary and failed war in Iraq. The maddening truth that is emerging is that this unnecessary Iraq war is going to cause us to lose a war that puts the Taliban and their 9/11 terror architect buddies al Qaeda back in control of a country. The administration has to come forward and admit to the country that this is the position we are in, take responsibility for it, withdraw all of the troops from Iraq and redeploy 40,000 of them to Afghanistan to make sure we dont lose Afghanistan to the Taliban.
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stevenleser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-16-07 11:21 AM
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1. From some spirited discussion on this on Kos
I think that I would add to this article that what is needed is a thorough and independent congressional investigation into exactly what is happening in Afghanistan and whether the US and NATO have a positive role to play.
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