In an elegant show of reasoning and logic, President Barack Obama, with his security team in tow, spoke in front of 3400 West Point cadets and explained why he was committing 30,000 more American troops to the War in Afghanistan beginning in January 2010. Despite his reassurance that the war will be limited to:
• Denying al Qaeda a safe haven
• Reversing the Taliban's momentum to overthrow Afghanistan's government
• Strengthening Afghanistan's security forces and government,
what is being repeated is a surge policy. With the idea being to have enough boots on the ground to finish what has been, to this point, a largely unwinnable war, his hope lies in repeating the relative success that his predecessor's policy had in Iraq.
To his credit his plan has a timeline, but like all war plans, there is an escape clause depending on what is happening in the country when the withdrawal of troops is scheduled to start in July 2011. The plan also includes commitments from 43 countries to step up and support the effort, which is commendable if it works. Lastly, Obama pointed out that the extra $30 additional billion price tag per year will have to be paid for and that he would work with Congress to do that. With the current plans to overhaul health care and to invest in job creation, one has to wonder what will be cut to accommodate two wars that have already cost taxpayers over a trillion dollars.
As the President travels to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize in nine days, one has to wonder if he should decline the honor. To accept such a prize under the shroud of escalating this war is tragic, regardless of his reasoning for doing so.