Daily Archives: September 2, 2009

President Must Decide on More Troops for Afghanistan by Gregory Hilton

President Obama is back from vacation and he will soon have to make a tough decision regarding a new strategy and more troops for Afghanistan. Public opinion has turned against the war, and Senators Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) are working to bring the troops home. Rep. Jim McGovern’s (D-MA) amendment requiring an Afghan exit strategy was supported by a majority of House Democrats, including key members of the leadership, such as Rep. David Obey (Chairman of the Appropriations Committee) and Rep. John Murtha (Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.) Congressional Republicans will support a troop increase. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and House Republican Leader John Boehner (OH) have all said they would support President Obama if he requests additional troops.
In August, 45 Americans were killed, and while no one wants to see an increase in spending, the Taliban is making progress. They also are continuing to destabilize Pakistan (a nuclear weapons state). Unfortunately U.S. public opinion has turned around. Afghanistan is no longer “the good war” of the 2008 campaign.
The new strategy will call for boosting the Afghan army to 240,000 from 135,000 and the Afghan police to 160,000 from 82,000. This will require thousands of additional U.S. trainers. The new strategy involves safeguarding the Afghan population while the U.S. and the Afghan Army hunts down militants.
Some of the questions the President will ponder are: Will the Taliban and al-Qaeda stay in Afghanistan or will they once again export terrorism? Will our allies finally come through with the pledges they have made regarding troops for Afghanistan? The EU and our other allies appear to prefer Obama to Bush, but nothing substantive has come from this change of attitude.
Pakistan is also a problem and the United States has given the government roughly $10 billion in military and civilian aid. There is nothing wrong with a Pakistan first strategy, and some are referring to this as the Afghanistan/Pakistan war. The Joint Chiefs of Staff will endorse General Stanley McChrystal’s report, but his recommendations regarding an increase in U.S. troop levels will not be made public for several weeks.
Ambassador Eikenberry and General McCrystal both have extensive experience with terrorism and they are presenting a solid plan which is ready to go. U.S. policy appears to be stuck at a stage where there is fear of making any decision, meanwhile lives and the fate of both Afghanistan and Pakistan are at stake.

A Final Message from DJ AM? by Gregory Hilton

For the first time in the history of Myspace all members have been contacted and asked to write tributes to a deceased celebrity. No, its not for Ted Kennedy or Eunice Shriver. They are honoring Adam Goldstein, 37, who was known as DJ AM. I never heard of him but he received $25,000 to spin records at parties, and was romantically linked to many desirable women.
DJ AM’s girlfriends included the most well known names in young Hollywood — Michelle Trachtenberg, Kristen Cavalleri, Lauren Hastings and Mandy Moore. He was engaged to Nicole Ritchie. He certainly had a lot to live for. DJ AM was sober for over nine years and was involved in the AA community. He attended meetings where he mentored and sponsored recovering addicts. Dr. Drew believes the painkillers prescribed to him after his plane crash last year, led to his fatal relapse.
I am sorry he lost his battle with crack cocaine, and lets hope his passing sends a powerful message about the dangers of illegal narcotics. Many people who tolerate drug use are familiar with his career. They are the ones this anti-drug message should reach. To honor DJ AM, blink-182 canceled tonight’s concert, and numerous recording industry stars will be attending his funeral which will be covered by MTV.

Washington Post Editorial: Don’t Abandon Afghanistan

Senators Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) want the United States us to get out of Afghanistan. and they are trying to enlist support for a resolution which will set a timetable for withdrawal. I am in agreement with the Washington Post. It will be difficult but we should stay the course. President Obama is very popular overseas and it would be wonderful if he found other nations to share this burden with us. Continue reading