On Tuesday evening, when President Obama announced his plan to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, it was the first time in years that Sean Hannity and Michael Moore could agree on anything (albeit for different reasons); Obama’s plan is flawed. Moore, as well as many others on the Left, criticizes Obama for stating that the United States will send more troops to Afghanistan while Hannity and other Republicans condemn Obama’s timetable for exiting. Obama clearly has no clue how to achieve victory in Afghanistan: his plan is a political, not a strategic, move.
While I happen to think that the War in Iraq was unnecessary, the War in Afghanistan is the true symbol for the War on Terror and it is necessary to achieve victory. Republicans are right to criticize Obama’s timetable to withdraw troops after 18 months for two major reasons. First, announcing a timetable is a poor strategic move. Giving a specific date for when we will be out of Afghanistan tells the Taliban that all they need to do is last 18 months before they can control the country. Telling the enemy when we plan on withdrawing is foolish; it is like playing a game of chess but telling the opponent our next few moves.
The second biggest reason why we must continue the fight in Afghanistan by adding more troops is that we owe it to the families of the 3,000 people who died on September 11th to achieve victory. Success in Afghanistan, the symbol for the War on Terror, will show our enemies that we don’t yield to terror. In order to increase our chances of success in Afghanistan and the War on Terror, we cannot give ourselves a deadline. An 18 month timetable to achieve victory will lead to rushed actions and unnecessary mistakes.
If Obama’s plan was equivalent to a 2,000 page bill, his press conference only shared his plans on page 1. We are left with many unanswered questions. Will we still withdraw from Afghanistan in 18 months if we are close to achieving victory? How will we achieve victory in Afghanistan? What will we do if we withdraw and the Taliban reassert control? Obama is clearly not able to answer these questions because his decision to withdraw troops by July of 2011 is purely a political maneuver to win him a second term. Obama wants to win over public opinion instead of doing what is right. His plan to end the war before his second term parallels the health care policy, where the government option will begin in 2013, right after the 2012 presidential election. Both plans are failures: Obama cares more about winning a second term than victory in Afghanistan, quality health care reform, or just about anything else.