Feb 2, 2010

What’s the plan in Afghanistan?

by Ethan Massey

Fifty-six men signed their lives away to stand for freedom on July 4, 1776 — a freedom that many no longer value or understand.
As former president George W. Bush responded to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, it was freedom that he sought to give to the oppressed. Bush made his intentions for the global war on terror clear — we would be in it for the long haul. It was not long before many Americans stopped supporting the war effort.

When U.S. troops entered Afghanistan in October 2001, they were quickly able to oust an unprepared Taliban. In the wake of the regime was a country in turmoil, to which America offered hope for change. Now, as the Afghan people strive to build a new government, the Taliban has taken steps to ensure its own success as well. These include the expansion of the Taliban shadow government and more effective improvised-explosive devices.

Until a few months ago, Operation Enduring Freedom took a backseat to the war in Iraq. A recently unclassified U.S. Intelligence briefing indicates that this attitude has resulted in the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, according to CNN.

The briefing, released Dec. 22, 2009, came shortly after President Barack Obama proposed a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in July 2011. While Democrats have been vying against the war for some time, Obama made it clear that the only freedom worth fighting for is a convenient one.

Though the 2011 withdrawal has been considered an arbitrary date, the announcement comes at a time when the Taliban is more organized and effective than ever. Many in Washington, such as Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., question the effectiveness of such a date, according to CNN.

“We’ve been there eight years now and we’re still talking about turning it around,” he said, according to CNN. “Is 18 months going to be sufficient?”

As Delahunt fears, the situation in Afghanistan will need more than a quick-fix.

Currently, a group of 30,000 American troops are being prepared as a surge force to Afghanistan. Obama hopes the surge will produce similar results to the one Bush implemented in Iraq. Though this is a noble goal, it is not realistic.

Ultimately, Obama’s new withdrawal date will not be the success it was with Iraq. Taking troops from Afghanistan while the situation is so volatile would not only destroy the progress that has been made, but would result in further terrorist attacks on the United States. With the numerous terrorist organizations that have openly positioned themselves against the U.S., there would be little hope of overcoming the terrorist threat unscathed.

Obama will soon find there are no shortcuts he can take without reaping dire consequences for future America. The situation in Afghanistan must be solved, not by government policy, but by attacking evil where it takes root. In the words of Ulysses S. Grant, “I have never advocated war except as a means of peace.”

Contact Ethan Massey at

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