Obama Outlines New Afghan War Strategy


obamaDeclaring “our security is at stake,” President Barack Obama ordered an additional 30,000 U.S. troops into the long war in Afghanistan on tonight Tuesday night, but balanced the buildup with a pledge to an impatient nation to begin withdrawing American forces in 18 months. In a prime-time speech at the U.S. Military Academy, the president said his new policy was designed to “bring this war to a successful conclusion.” The troop buildup will begin almost immediately — the first Marines will be in place by January — and will cost $30 billion for the first year alone.”We must deny al Qaeda a safe haven,” Obama said in articulating U.S. military goals for a war that has dragged on for eight years. “We must reverse the Taliban’s momentum. … And we must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan’s security forces and government.”

The president said the additional forces would be deployed at “the fastest pace possible so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers.”

Their destination: “the epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda.”

“It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak,” the president said.

It marked the second time in his young presidency that Obama has added to the American force in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has recently made significant advances. When he became president last January, there were roughly 34,000 troops on the ground; there now are 71,000.

Obama’s announcement drew less-than-wholehearted support from congressional Democrats. Many of them favor a quick withdrawal, but others have already proposed higher taxes to pay for the fighting.

Republicans reacted warily, as well. Officials said Sen. John McCain, who was Obama’s Republican opponent in last year’s presidential campaign, told Obama at an early evening meeting attended by numerous lawmakers that declaring a timetable for a withdrawal would merely send the Taliban underground until the Americans began to leave.

As a candidate, Obama called Afghanistan a war worth fighting, as opposed to Iraq, a conflict he opposed and has since begun easing out of.

A new survey by the Gallup organization, released today, showed only 35 percent of Americans now approve of Obama’s handling of the war; 55 percent disapprove.

“After 18 months, out troops will begin to come home,” he said flatly.

In eight years of war, 849 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and neighboring Uzbekistan, according to the Pentagon.

In addition to beefing up the U.S. presence, Obama has asked NATO allies to commit between 5,000 and 10,000 additional troops.

He said he was counting on Afghanistan eventually taking over its own security, and he warned, “The days of providing a blank check are over.” He said the United States would support Afghan ministries that combat corruption and “deliver for the people. We expect those who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable.”

As for neighboring Pakistan, the president said that country and the United States “share a common enemy” in Islamic terrorists. He added his policy will be to strengthen Pakistan’s capacity to target terrorists, and he said the U.S. has “made it clear that we cannot tolerate a safe haven for terrorists whose location is known.”

{CBS Broadcasting/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. If the Republicans oppose the President all the time on every issue, they are no longer part of the solution. The American way is that politics stops at the water’s edge, we fight our wars in a non partisan way. If the hatred of the duly elected President is such that Republicans are afraid to approve of anything he days or does, then this in itself is a very great threat to our freedom and our existence as a great nation.

  2. the gop needs to learn to work to gether for the betterment of the country. (the dems learned how now its their turn) to go against obama on every issue (like they did with clinton) is counterproductive and not helping him do their job running the country. if mccain was president the same exact surge would be hapening. this should have happened a long time ago. this wasthe main front of the post 9/11 war on terror.