[THS] Open Letter to President Obama on Afghanistan
vignes at wanadoo.fr
Mon Sep 14 18:45:51 CEST 2009
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 10:04:04 -0400
To: newsfromunderground at googlegroups.com
From: Mark Crispin Miller <mark.miller at nyu.edu>
Subject: [MCM] There they go again...
Here's an open letter to Obama, from a rightist group including (along with the ambitious Sarah Palin) members of the PNAC gang that pushed for the invasion of Iraq. Just as, in 1998, they urged Bill Clinton to invade Iraq, then got their way with Bush & Co. (Dick Cheney being one of them), they're now demanding that this president "fully resource the effort in Afghanistan."
They're pushing him like this because of rising public (and, therefore, congressional)* opposition to the Bush war in Afghanistan. So who will win this time? Will they prevail again, despite the vast catastrophe they brought down on Iraq (a nightmare that continues)? Or will it, somehow, be the rest of us? ("The rest of us" includes an ever-growing number of our troops.)
Whatever you can do to tell Obama that this war is an atrocious loser, do it loud and clear, and do it now.
Open Letter to President Obama on Afghanistan
September 7, 2009
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
The situation in Afghanistan is grave and deteriorating. This is in part the legacy of
an under resourced war effort that has cost us and the Afghans dearly. The Taliban
has retaken important parts of the country, while a flawed U.S. strategy has led
American forces into secondary efforts far away from critical areas. However, we
remain convinced that the fight against the Taliban is winnable, and it is in the vital
national security interest of the United States to win it.
You've called Afghanistan an "international security challenge of the highest order, "
and stated that "the safety of people around the world is at stake." Last month you
told a convention of veterans, "Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to
do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe
haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a
war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people."
We fully agree with those sentiments. We congratulate you on the leadership you
demonstrated earlier this year when you decided to deploy approximately 21,000
additional troops and several thousand civilian experts as a part of a serious
counterinsurgency campaign. Your appointments of General Stanley McChrystal as
top commander and David Rodriguez as second in command in Afghanistan
exemplified the seriousness of purpose you spoke about during the campaign. We
are heartened to see that the much needed overhaul of our military operations has
Since the announcement of your administration's new strategy, we have been
troubled by calls for a drawdown of American forces in Afghanistan and a growing
sense of defeatism about the war. With General McChrystal expected to request
additional troops later this month, we urge you to continue on the path you have
taken thus far and give our commanders on the ground the forces they need to
implement a successful counterinsurgency strategy. There is no middle course.
Incrementally committing fewer troops than required would be a grave mistake and
may well lead to American defeat. We will not support half-measures that repeat the
errors of the past.
This is, as you have said, a war that we cannot afford to lose. Failure to defeat the
Taliban would likely lead to a return of al Qaeda to Afghanistan and could result in
terrorist attacks on the United States or our allies. An abandonment of Afghanistan
would further destabilize the region, and put neighboring Pakistan and its nuclear
arsenal at risk. All our efforts to support Islamabad's fight against the Taliban in
Pakistan's tribal regions will founder if we do not match those achievements on the
other side of that country's porous northwestern border.
As you observed during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, "You don't muddle
through the central front on terror and you don't muddle through going after bin
Laden. You don't muddle through stamping out the Taliban." We completely agree.
Having "muddled through" in Afghanistan for years, this is no longer a politically,
strategically, or morally sustainable approach.
Mr. President, you have put in place the military leadership and sent the initial
resources required to begin bringing this war to a successful conclusion. The military
leadership has devised a strategy that will reverse the errors of previous years, free
Afghans from the chains of tyranny, and keep America safe. We call on you to fully
resource this effort, do everything possible to minimize the risk of failure, and to
devote the necessary time to explain, soberly and comprehensively, to the American
people the stakes in Afghanistan, the route to success, and the cost of defeat.
With the continued bravery of our troops, and your continued full support for them
and their command team, America and our allies can and will prevail in Afghanistan.
Eliot A. Cohen
Ryan C. Crocker
William S. Edgerly
Jamie M. Fly
Frederick W. Kagan
Robert C. McFarlane
Mitchell B. Reiss
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