Top Ten Questions and Answers on Obama’s Strategy in Afghanistan

Kim Holmes and James Carafano /

1. If the President sends 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, does that count as a “surge?”

Simply put, no, because the use of that term implies an Iraq-like strategy of ramping up forces to the maximum of what the generals are requesting. It has been widely reported that General McChrystal’s assessment for additional troops to achieve maximum chance of success was between 60,000 and 80,000 troops. While the President’s decision is better than no new troops at all, it falls short of that assessment. Additionally, the White House plans to add troops over time as it sees fit, and not necessarily “surge” forces for maximum affect. We hope that the President’s far riskier strategy succeeds. If it does not, we must remember the options he had available to him before this decision. He had the chance to turn this war around; if he does not, the result will be his responsibility alone.

2. Is tonight’s announcement of a strategy the result of a thoughtful, deliberative process?

The delay in making a decision is inexcusable. Given that President Obama has been in office over 10 months; was privy to extensive briefings on the Afghan situation before that; the many months General McChrystal has been on the job; and the critical situation on the ground, the delay has put the mission and American soldiers in graver jeopardy. If McChrystal originally asked for 40,000 troops, as the White House would like you to believe, it is incomprehensible to believe that it took many months to simply lower that number by 5,000.