Media outlets are reporting that President Obama will tell the country tonight that he intends to send around 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan in the coming months. It is unfortunate that Afghanistan was neglected for so long by the Bush administration and the new President must now deal with the situation there. But the fact is, with this new plan, the Afghanistan war now belongs to Obama.
This should not be too surprising to anyone who has followed Obama since he announced his candidacy for President. While he spoke out against the Iraq War, he has always maintained that our efforts should focus on Afghanistan, which he has characterized as the front for taking on Al Qaeda. Assuming for the moment that going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is prudent, it will be interesting to see what Obama’s plan is for the Afghanistan government. Right now, it is a mess. The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Gen. Karl Eikenberry, has apparently written cables back to the White House declaring that Karzai is not a good partner for the U.S. and sending more troops is not in our best interest. There are numerous other problems that I will not get into here, but the point is that the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is just one of the many problems we face there.
Right now, I do not think it is a good idea to send that many troops over there in the hopes of replicating the Iraq Surge. The two countries are operating at fundamentally different levels right now, and the tribal nature of Afghanistan is not organized in a way to allow us to seek out alliances within the different tribes to make hay against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. And by the way, what happened to reaching out to the Taliban? I am sure I will have more to say after hearing the details straight from the President’s mouth tonight.