Guest Post by Amanda Young with commentary from Laura Kavanaugh

Earlier this week, comments made by General McChrystal concerning the strategy in Afghanistan were leaked to the press. He called for a new strategy because he believes the current one will lead to mission failure (a strong statement that has raised concerns). The military has already begun to relocated troops from the sparsely populated mountainous regions that are difficult to cities. This move is in hopes that we can begin to rebuild cities, protect the Afghan people, and help strengthen the government.

After eight years in Afghanistan a mission focused on civilian protection, reconstruction, and strengthening the Afghan government that will lay the groundwork for a responsible exit sounds like the right plan, but the General believes more resources are needed for this strategy to succeed.  In this case “resources” means American soldiers. Many people speculate that the general will ask President Obama for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan today, even though President Obama made it clear during his interview on Meet the Press that, “Until I’m satisfied that we’ve got the right strategy I’m not gonna be sending some young man or woman over there- beyond what we already have”. President Obama’s decision has become even more difficult now that current polls show that the majority of Americans no longer support the war.

Afghanistan has witnessed 30 years of war and America and its allies have an important responsibility to establish security and support the reconstruction of the country’s infrastructure and rule of law systems.  Many agree on this goal, but disagree on the correct strategy – will a troop surge further reconstruction efforts or fuel discontentment in the region and among Americans impatient to bring our troops home?  Are we repeating mistakes made in Iraq by burdening the military with reconstruction missions typically carried out by civilian specialists? How can we increase the capacity of USAID (still w/o an administrator) and the State Dept quickly to ensure that the military’s efforts are appropriately supported?

To learn more about General McChrystal’s recommended strategy and President Obama’s interview with Meet the Press click here:

General McChrystal: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8266072.stm
President Obama: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32935603/ns/meet_the_press//

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