Gen. Stanley McChrystal, President Obama's personal choice to lead U.S. and coalition forces and operations in Afghanistan, has officially made a request for between 30,000 and 40,000 additional troops. He asserts that without this troop infusion, we run a very real risk of failing to meet our military objectives in Afghanistan, failing to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and ruining the hope of providing a stable enough atmosphere that the Afghan military and police can eventually assume control of their internal security and defend against external threats.
McChrystal is not alone in this request. Gen. David Petraeus, the brilliant architect and manager of the United States' successful "surge" in Iraq who now commands United States Central Command, has attached his name to the growing list of supporters for the troop increase request. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has also indicated that more troops will be needed to avoid failure in Afghanistan.
Avoiding failure on this front is a non-negotiable. Such a failure, in both military and political terms, would be catastrophic to American interests at home and abroad. Such a scenario would likely include a revitalized Taliban and Al Qaeda that are ceded strategic territory in which to thrive, train and plot. And just as importantly, it would give these murderous thugs the type of public relations victory they have been seeking since the September 11 attacks -- similar to their failed effort to bog down and cause a hasty retreat of U.S. troops in Iraq.
President Obama, it is time to listen to your field generals over liberal Washington politicos, just as you did in February of this year when you approved an initial increase of 21,000 troops. President Obama, it is now time to give Gen. McChrystal the troops he needs to get the job done.
There is no doubt that sending our brave men and women into harm's way is one of the most difficult decisions a president has to make. No one should criticize the president for taking a few weeks to thoroughly review this latest request -- especially in light of our numerous obligations throughout the globe which have stretched our troops and their equipment quite thin recently. A troop increase of this magnitude requires consideration and long-term planning.