Vice President Joe Biden said that Obama administration’s new surge-and-exit troop strategy in Afghanistan is aimed more at wringing reforms from President Hamid Karzai than mollifying a war-weary American public. Appearing on network news shows a day after President Barack Obama announced his plan to send in 30,000 more U.S. forces, Biden said the principal aim of the new policy is to protect the United States from further terrorist attack while also keeping the Taliban from overrunning the country.
Biden also added when asked about doubts he was said to have had about escalating the war. Biden said “I’ve never publicly said what my position is because I reserve that for the president,” he replied. “But I was skeptical of taking our eye off the ball. The ball is al-Qaida. That’s the reason we’re there. They are in Pakistan, the Taliban leadership is in Pakistan. And I wanted to make sure the focus stayed on those two elements of our concern and didn’t sort of morph into a nation-building exercise that would tie us down for 10 years and in fact not be of any assistance in meeting what is the real threat to the U.S. – that is al-Qaida and the most extreme forces that are in Pakistan and wanting to topple Pakistan.”
Democrats complained about Obama’s escalation of the 8-year-old war, however. And Republicans are unhappy with his promise to withdraw troops in 18 months. But Congress appears nevertheless willing to approve the buildup’s $30 billion price tag. Many Democrats said they weren’t convinced that sending more troops would hasten an end to the war. They also question whether the money used for troop deployments will drain resources from other domestic priorities, like health care and job creation.
Obama pledged Tuesday night to an audience of Army cadets at the U.S. Military Academy that the shift from surge to exit strategy would depend on the military situation in Afghanistan. “We will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground,” Obama said, declaring that the nation’s security was at stake and that the additional troops were needed to “bring this war to a successful conclusion.”
Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which planned to grill top administration officials Wednesday on Obama’s decision, said that he expected the administration to submit a new war spending request and that Democrats would back it.
The planned infusion of 30,000 U.S. troops would raise the total American military presence in Afghanistan to about 100,000.
However, we hope that Obama administration will also look at the root causes of expansion of Terrorist activities in the related areas. Let’s hope that this buildup of additional Troop with huge price tag will not impact our other important domestic requirements.