President Obama announced yesterday evening that he’s authorizing 30,000 more troops for Afghanistan. Reactions to it have been just about what you’d expect.
The NY Times headline is, "Qualified Support From G.O.P.; Skepticism From Democrats", and the article quotes Democrats upset at it and Republicans with guarded approval, with some concern over a specific timetable.
Bruce McQuain at the Q&O blog expounds more regarding the timetable. Bruce is a military man, and so he speaks with some authority on the subject. When it comes to how quickly they will leave, and how quickly they will come home, he doesn’t quite understand the possibility of the speed going out and the purpose of the speed coming back.
Obama says these troops will deploy by fastest means possible. Additonally he said:
Let me be clear: there has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war.
Well let me be clear – deploying troops to a theater of war takes a long lead time. Preparation and training are key. While it is probably true that there were no calls for deployments before 2010, a 3 month delay means 3 months in which the alerted units are shorted vital training time. And now the deployment cycle is going to be speeded up because he’s trying to cover his tail? Guess who suffers to make him look better?
To this point, I’ve laid out a plausible but complex military mission. But it moves from “plausible and complex” to impossible with this line:
After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.
Even getting the deployment cycle initiated as quickly as possible, the troops (most likely 3 BCTs, a Marine MEU, 4,000 trainers and a command and control element of 7,000) will take 12 to 18 months to complete their deployment. So how is this a surge if as the last unit arrives in country as the first leaves?
He also notes that, if he were part of the Taliban, who have been fighting since the 80s, holding out for 18 months is a cakewalk.
But going from those who think we need more troops to properly get the job done (especially if you include building infrastructure) to those who want less, we start with a blistering opinion piece in Der Spiegel.
Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America’s new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric — and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.
For each troop movement, Obama had a number to match. US strength in Afghanistan will be tripled relative to the Bush years, a fact that is sure to impress hawks in America. But just 18 months later, just in time for Obama’s re-election campaign, the horror of war is to end and the draw down will begin. The doves of peace will be let free.
This left-leaning periodical, from one of those countries that was going to love us once we jettisoned Dubya, is more polite than other domestic Democrats who are throwing their guy under the bus.
Well, OK, that last link is to a blog post discussing the chatter on Democratic Underground, a rather bottom-feeding, though very popular, site. How about the reaction from Christians who are Democrats? Lemme tell you, Jim Wallis ain’t happy. And neither are most of the commenters to the post. But this one comment, from someone disappointed in Obama’s move, puts it best.
Obama supported this war from the beginning. During his campaign, he called it a "good war" and promised to put more resources into it. He has kept his promise.
All of you who supported his candidacy while claiming to be pro-peace should be doing some major rethinking. I hope you don’t make the mistake of supporting pro-war politicians again in the future.
Reading comments from the Left today, you’d think they expected that he would break that promise; that it was just made to get enough votes to win. Is that the way to get more honesty in Washington? Hmmm.
But when all is said and done, I’m with Don Surber who says that, since politics stops (or, well, should stop) at the water’s edge, we should support the President’s decision, and pray for the troops who will be deployed. We should anyway, of course, but an event like this can bring more attention to this need.