The surge in Afghanistan: I hate to say it, but maybe a little bit common sense?
I certainly don’t consider myself pro-war. As a rule I’m vehemently against any sort of invasion or occupation of a sovereign state. You can bet that when the U.S. invaded Iraq I was one of the hundreds of thousands—or were we millions? I don’t presume to be so optimistic—that took the streets in protest, and added my own CO2 to the worldwide sigh of relief at President Obama’s announcement of troop withdrawal. But like so many of my anti-war counterparts, joy over Obama’s policy concerning Iraq was met with lamentations over his decision to not only continue the war in Afghanistan, but indeed to increase U.S. troop size and funding within the country. I recently, however, had what for me is a very rare opportunity: the chance to have dinner with a Green Beret in training who allowed me to pick his brain on America’s military policy towards the Middle East, and forced me hear a few things that my tree-hugging friends and I rarely discuss.
This young man in question had recently finished a year-long deployment in the eastern part of Afghanistan, an area notorious for continuous and brutal fighting. While my answer to his stories of civilians caught in the cross-fire and dying comrades was for troops to get out (and fast), he postulated that Obama’s suggested surge is actually logical and necessary and will, despite short-term hardships, result in long-term peace for the country. If NATO troops are already in the country, he suggested, than we might as well be in there sufficiently and get the job done, rather than simply prolong the suffering with no tangibly positive results.
Now I have difficulty believing that more military—and, by default, more fighting—is the answer to a current military quagmire. But this Green Beret’s is not alone in his support for the surge. The most recent issue of The Economist (I know—not exactly an anti-war publication) also supports Obama’s decision, and condemns Britain for under-supporting it’s troops in the country and Canada for announcing it’s imminent pull-out. The logic remains the same: if NATO decided to go into Afghanistan, and if the U.S. and it’s allies truly sees terrorism in the region as a threat, then by-golly (as the Brits say) do the job right, or don’t do it at all.