Brits Sending More Troops to Afghanistan, U.S. Still Undecided

Posted on October 15, 2009

From ABC News:

The Brits announced today that they will be sending 500 more troops to Afghanistan.  Prime Minister Brown said:

“I believe the decision we are announcing is consistent with what the Americans will decide”

This comment raised speculation by the BBC that this meant President Obama had possibly already made a decision about upping U.S. troop levels to the battleground. 

But, a firm denial of the speculation was issued by the Obama administration’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:

“The president has not made a decision, and when he does I think you can assume that the BBC will not be the first outlet for such a decision,” Gibbs said yesterday. “I would not…throw weight behind the fact that a decision has been made when the president has yet to make a decision.”

So, in a weird turn of events, it seems that the Brits are listening and heeding the recommendations of Obama’s own appointed general, General McChrystal, when he says he  needs more troops, but the Obama administration is still undecided. 

What hasn’t been widely reported is that President Obama already approved sending tens of thousands of additional troops  to Afghanistan earlier this year.  The announcement of the first 17,000 of these additional troops was reported back in Februrary in the New York Times:

President Obama said Tuesday that he would send an additional 17,000 American troops to Afghanistan this spring and summer, putting his stamp firmly on a war that he has long complained is going in the wrong direction.

At that time, President Obama made the war in Afghanistan his to win or lose. Exactly as he said he wanted to do while on the campaign trail.  The war in Afghanistan was the “right war”, the one we should be fighting, instead of being in Iraq.

But now, after receiving General McChrystal’s request for up to 40,000 additional troops in August, President Obama can’t seem to decide.  Weeks have gone by and the White House still seems to be no where closer in making a decision on the matter.

Could it be because the war has become even more unfavorable to the far left in his party?  And with the vote for health care reform still pending, President Obama cannot afford to alienate his base?

I sure hope not.  Becausing delaying support to our fighting men and women in Afghanistan, who riski their lives daily, is nothing to be pushed aside and dealt with only after political cover is no longer needed.  These brave soldiers should be at the top of President Obama’s “to do list.”   If President Obama was so sure of his strategy dealing with the Afghanistan War in the early months of his presidency, why the long delay now?

Posted in: War on Terror