I'm not an expert on Afghanistan, I have never been there and I don't know what it's like from a personal point of view (though I nearly deployed there in 2001, a week later my orders were revoked, figures). I know things aren't going to well, Afghanistan has been notorious for being a nearly impossible theater to fight in ever since the Soviets waged war during the 80's.
Being in the military, I want to fight to win. If we engage in military actions, we don't go to war until the war becomes unpopular and then bail, we go in with every intention of winning.
However, with the issues going on in Afghanistan as of recently, things getting heated there, and with a Commander in Chief that seems to be steered by the anti-war wing of his base, my thoughts were this. Obama needs to make up his mind and do one of two things. Give GEN McChrystal the troops he requests with full backing that we are going to commit to this war until it is over, or get our people out of there. It was frustrating to me that President Obama seemed to take his time mulling over this decision for so long, and seemed to have his priorities elsewhere, like passing a health care plan that should probably wait for a better economy.
I feel right now the President should be focused on two things. Fixing our economy and making a decision on what to do with our troops overseas. Those should be the most paramount things in his administration, not Cap and Trade (which will kill our economy), not Health Care Reform (people are resisting, and it's more of Health Insurance Reform anyway, plus, it will kill the economy). The Economy (and by extention, that 'three letter word' JOBS) and the war on terror (ie - overseas contigency operation)
By 'dithering', in what he explained to troops was he wanted to make sure he was seeking out the best possible option to make sure he wasn't putting troops in harms way, meanwhile a delay in a decision was putting our troops in harms way, he wasted precious time focusing on other issues and apparently seeking the Olympics for Chicago and bowing to world leaders on a taxpayer funded world tour.
And so, Obama has made his decision and is sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Good for him, it's about time. And as long as he commits us to win this war, and not playing 'well, we'll send the troops there and see how it goes' and maybe we'll get them out of there if it doesn't look to good, I will support President Obama's decision.
Mr President, the troops will be with you on this as long as you are behind us in providing full support. Now the next thing that needs to be looked at is reevaluating the Rules of Engagement currently in theater. If you are not willing to give us everything we got so we can win this thing, there is no point in sending more troops into Afghanistan. So please show us that you are actually committed and not playing politics with soldier's lives. War is never a PC event. It involves death, casualties and sometimes innocent people will suffer for it, but collateral damage is a part of war and always has been. War is a messy, dirty, ugly thing. Soldiers are willing to die for a cause they can believe in. Freedom and the destruction of the Taliban and Al queda are worthy goals in my mind. If it makes the world a little safe, sign me up.
So only time will tell with how committed our President is to Afghanistan. As of this moment, he has my full support on this issue. I just wish he had made it a little sooner then now.
NOTE - Check here for another great article at RWN about the right putting aside political differences and supporting the President on this matter.
EDIT - He set a timeline. *sighs*
Mr President, if you're going to set a timeline for withdrawal in Afghanistan as 18 months, 'taking into account conditions on the ground', why not get us out now? I hope that doesn't mean 'if things aren't going to well, we're getting out of there.' You never set a timeline in cases of war. Because whenever you make a plan, the first rule of war is the plan never goes as expected. that's why we have to either commit fully or withdraw now. The Cadets sensed your reluctance to commit. You can't have it both ways.
But that's just one staff sergeant's take on the whole issue, and who am I?