Biden a Neoquagmirest
President Obama’s plan to widen United States involvement in Afghanistan came after an internal debate in which Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. warned against getting into a political and military quagmire, while military advisers argued that the Afghanistan war effort could be imperiled without even more troops.Biden is showing his ignorance of counterinsurgency warfare and offering the same flawed advice he did on the surge in Iraq. One of the ironies is that by sending fewer troops and concentrating on training of Afghan troops, the Obama administration has opted to prolong the war rather than get an adequate force to space ratio on the ground.
All of the president’s advisers agreed that the primary goal in the region should be narrow — taking aim at Al Qaeda, as opposed to the vast attempt at nation-building the Bush administration had sought in Iraq. The question was how to get there.
The commanders in the field wanted a firmer and long-term commitment of more combat troops beyond the 17,000 that Mr. Obama had already promised to send, and a pledge that billions of dollars would be found to significantly expand the number of Afghan security forces.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pressed for an additional 4,000 troops to be sent to Afghanistan — but only to serve as trainers. They tempered the commanders’ request and agreed to put off any decision to order more combat troops to Afghanistan until the end of this year, when the strategy’s progress could be assessed.During these discussions, Mr. Biden was the voice of caution, reminding the group members that they would have to sell their plans to a skeptical Congress.
While the training will eventually get more Afghan force on the ground it will take a longer period of time for them to become combat hardened and understand their role in a counterinsurgency. The small Afghan army is not that bad, and it does need to be enlarged, probably more than this plan calls for.
But the most urgent need is for a force to protect the people in the area the Taliban is seeking to control. By keeping our force too small the troops will be playing whack a mole with the Taliban having to buy the same real estate over and over and paying the price in blood.
If they are going to keep the force too small they will need to add more force multipliers like the UAVs, but the Obama administration is talking about cutting back on that kind of defense spending too. That is a huge mistake especially in a time when they are throwing money at sinkhole programs that are not nearly as important as winning the war. One of the problems with liberal Democrats is that they are too focused on buying the next election with their constituent groups instead of looking after national security.