General McCrystal says he needs 40,000 more troops to execute his strategy against the Taliban. Those in opposition not only oppose sending more troops they in fact think the U.S. should withdraw from Afghanistan completely.
But it’s not a hard decision. The question to be answered definitively is, would a resurgence and a return to power of the Taliban be a threat to U.S. national security. If the answer is yes then you send the troops. If no, then you don’t. But all the evidence is the answer is yes.
The real concern now is that Obama will play politics with the decision and play both sides of the street something he has tried to do since he’s been in politics.
Robert Gibbs showed the depth of the administration’s indecision when he said in a press conference that the Taliban was in fact a threat to US national security but that the commitment of American troops there was not “open ended”.
That is a statement showing confusion and Obama trying to walk both sides of the street politically. If the Taliban is a threat to US security then the commitment must be open ended, since they must be defeated. And if they aren’t we should get out. It really is that simple. But what could be a disaster is Obama trying to go half way to satisfy both sides politically.
MSNBC reported that Obama is now considering sending 10,000 more troops. That is not a strategic decision it would be a political one.
General McCrystal says he needs 40,000. If the decision is to send troops you either trust McCrystal or you don’t. If you do you give him what he says he needs until he proves his analysis can no longer be trusted.
We’ve seen what happens when Obama is more concerned about politics than in taking a stand. With Obama’s serial reversals on his position on the public option and not taking a stand and trying to satisfy both sides in the health care debate he made health care reform much more difficult than it had to be.
One can only hope that on another decision affecting life and limb he forgets politics, makes a decision as to whether the Taliban is a threat to US security and act accordingly