The Courageous Decision

President Obama must make a decision soon on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan. The most courageous decision he can make is to just say NO.

The Republicans will scream bloody murder, but I would rather have them screaming in Washington than some young American kid dying in Afghanistan.  We can defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda without sending more troops.

We didn’t invade Afghanistan to rebuild their country. We invaded because the Taliban would not turn  Osama bin Laden and other members of Al Qaeda over to us. We wanted to deny Al Qaeda a training ground and a safe place to plot against us. What do you think they have been doing in Pakistan for the past eight years? Do you think they have been waiting to get back into Afghanistan to train and plot against us? Of course not. An imaginary line in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan did not stop Al Qaeda from doing anything.

Let’s fight the most primitive means of warfare, suicide bombers and roadside bombs, with the greatest technology that the world has ever seen. Let’s use our overwhelming, unopposed, superior, air power to defeat the Taliban.

In “To Beat the Taliban, Fight from Afar” in the October 14, 2009  New York Times, Robert A. Pape suggests that we rely on air and naval power from a distance and work with local security forces on the ground. That’s how we beat the Taliban in 2001. We had some troops on the
ground, but we mainly worked with local Afghan fighters by providing air strikes against the Taliban. The Taliban may be able to survive underground in caves in Pakistan, but large groups of them out in the open, whether at night or during the day, are toast.

We have Reapers and Predators, unmanned aircraft that are operated remotely from bases in the United States. The assembly lines should be running twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week making these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). We certainly have enough laid off auto workers that they could be put to good use building UAVs to defend America, our ground forces and the ground forces of our Allies and friends. Let General McChrystal have all the UAVs he wants.

The November 2009 issue of Esquire magazine has an article by Brian Mockenhaupt called, “We’ve Seen The Future and It’s Unmanned.” Here is a quote from the article: “An F-16 burns a thousand gallons of fuel an hour and can stay over a target for about an hour before it must swap out with another plane or refuel midair. A Predator carries a hundred gallons of fuel with which it can stay over a target for twenty-four hours.”

Arizona Senator John McCain said that if President Obama didn’t send the 40,000 troops requested by General McChrystal it would be an “error of historic proportions.” He also said that more troops were “vitally needed” in Afghanistan and that any delay in ordering more combat forces to the fight would put American lives at risk. He will probably lead the criticism of the president if he says no.

Frank Rich wrote a column for the NY Times called, “Two Wrongs Make Another Fiasco.” It documents all the different ways that Senator McCain has been wrong since September 11, 2001. McCain has been wrong on just about everything.

Vice President Joe Biden doesn’t want the president to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan either. He supports using UAVs and Special Forces to target Al Qaeda in Pakistan and letting the Afghans take over their own security. I’m with Joe.

What happened to all of the Afghans who fought the Taliban in 2001? Where are they now? Let’s invite 40,000 of them to defend their own country again. If we fight with local Afghan forces on the ground, they should be covered by an umbrella of massive fire power from unmanned drones and whatever other air power our military thinks is necessary.

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote a column on September 21, 2009 called, “The Hard and Bitter Truth.” He doesn’t want the president to send more troops either.

We should use all of the technology that we have to stop the Taliban and Al Qaeda from operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but we shouldn’t send more troops. Why should our soldiers have to die because the Taliban and Al Qaeda want to live in the 12th Century?

As Robert A. Pope says, “To Beat the Taliban, Let’s Fight From Afar.” May I suggest, “Kill them from a distance?”

President Obama, be courageous and just say NO!

2 Responses to “The Courageous Decision”

  1. Lisa Wines says:

    The courage to say no. Great point. Also, tonight I watched parts 1 and 2 of a great BBC documentary about America’s history in Afghanistan and the neoconservative influences (Rumsfeld, Perle, Kristol, etc.) throughout that history. It’s fascinating and gave me much more insight.

    Just go to and search for “The Power Of Nightmares”

  2. John Tedder says:

    Thanks Lisa. I will check it out.

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