Barack Obama is faced with some serious issues about the war in Afghanistan, and it is reported that he is unhappy with the four options that have been prepared and presented to him by those within the administration, as reported on Wednesday’s AC360. The options range from sending 40,000 more American troops at a maximum to a minimum of sending 20,000 more in a supplemental effort to what is already there. Interestingly, though, all focus on maintaining and continuing an American presence in Afghanistan as we continue to shift the focus from Iraq.
As is usually the case, the military side is campaigning for a larger force and military campaign while the ambassadorial side is lobbying for less open warfare. Not only is there fighting being waged in Afghanistan, but now there is open fighting being waged within the Obama administration’s top levels.
Obama has been in office nearly a year now, but our presence in Afghanistan is still waiting to be altered. Obama has awaited presentation from his staff, which has responded with four alternatives, none of which is to his liking. Thus, he has sent them back to the drawing board, and the waiting starts anew.
The present situation clashes greatly with what Obama declared when he was running for the presidency. In July of 2008, Obama traveled to Afghanistan and called for a troop buildup within the country. Unfortunately, his desire was more aimed at criticizing George W. Bush’s handling of Iraq, whether appropriately or not, and using Afghanistan as an alternative focus to do just that. Obama was successful in his goal, but he is now backtracking on his words.
Lost in the quandary about what to do is the American public’s opinion on how Afghanistan should be handled. It is an issue that was not addressed in our handling of Iraq and is now not being addressed in our actions towards Afghanistan. Despite what our leaders believe, it is the people who fight the war, and they should have a say in whether they want it to continue.
Until now, Americans who choose not to be touched by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan largely are not. The armed services are all volunteer, and largely manned by gung-ho personnel who choose to be where they are. As a result, many Americans have been untouched by the ravages of war and they do not really feel the effects of what is happening overseas.
The first action Obama should take is to reinstate the draft for age-eligible Americans, with no exception other than physical shortcomings that obviously preclude service. Americans should then be drafted and forced into action, so they feel the true effects of war and a public debate should then ensue over whether we should continue our presence overseas. Until then, this is nothing more than a chess game in which Obama is using real yet willing pawns. – George Curcio