Daily Archives: August 23, 2009

Afghanistan: Our Next Big Challenge by Gregory Hilton

Afghanistan will be our next big issue. In two weeks our commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, will send his report to the White House. He is expected to recommend three options: 15,000, 25,000 or 45,000 additional troops. If Obama and the Joint Chiefs says this is necessary, Sen. McCain will support the request for more troops. Their mission will be doubling the Afghan police and army forces to a total of 400,000.
Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) have already said they will lead the opposition, and 14 House Members have signed a joint letter to Obama pledging to work against any additional troops. The Senators will appear at the DC premiere of a new anti-war movie, “Get Afghanistan Right,” and a left wing coalition is being formed. Our terrorist enemies live in Afghanistan, and this week’s vote proved the people want democracy. The Taliban attacked polling stations and cut off the fingers of some voters. The left wing always attacked Bush by saying Afghanistan was the necessary war. We will soon know if they really meant it.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this morning and said he was worried about declining public support for the war on Afghanistan.
The Taliban claims to be a religious organization but they take credit for spraying battery acid in faces of little Afghan girls. They are intent on stopping the education of girls, and the Taliban has already destroyed 478 schools. Many schools have been set on fire or endured attacks from mustard gas rockets. The cruel Taliban attacks will continue, but they are not going to win.
In 2001, only a million Afghan children were enrolled in school, all of them boys. The education of girls was banned. Today, approximately 7 million Afghan children attend school, of which 2.6 million, or roughly a third, are girls. All of the children receive a free school lunch from U.S. AID. There are 23 year old young women in elementary school because they never were given that opportunity earlier in life. Practically all of their parents are illiterate, but change is slowly coming.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll this week reveals that a majority of Americans now believe that Afghanistan is not worth fighting for — and only 24% back a troop increase. While 45% say the American troop commitment there should actually be reduced. For over two years Barack Obama has often said: “The real war on terror is in Afghanistan,” and I hope he will be able to convince his supporters of the importance of the U.S. and allied mission.