Oliver North

That's why he insists that when "innocents are being slaughtered and global security" is endangered, "we must rally international action." And that's why he must claim that the U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign in Libya is somehow "protecting the Libyan people." It's doing no such thing, but that's not going to change Obama's apparent conviction that "good wars" in the future should be fought without putting "a single soldier on the ground." And all this means a much smaller U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

Whether the looming cuts in funding also will mean a reduced commitment to building Afghanistan's national security forces -- the army, police and air force -- remains to be seen. The U.S. and allied trainers, mentors and advisers we have spoken with here at NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan point to the five-year ANSF building and sustainment plan, which was approved in the capitals of 49 nations, and say, "These programs can't be cut; they are essential to winning here."

And they are. Without literate and well-trained, -led and -equipped security forces, Afghanistan will once again become a failed state in the midst of a very dangerous neighborhood. Today 33 countries have personnel on the ground helping to recruit, train, mentor and field good cops, soldiers and airmen. The NTM-A budget request to continue this process is more than $1 billion per month.

Over the next 90 days, the United States will have a new secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, International Security Assistance Force commander, CIA director and NTM-A commander. Given all these changes and the president's apparent intent to put the U.S. military on an austerity budget, there are questions as to whether Congress and our allies will continue to fund the NTM-A effort through 2016.

While they ponder this financial commitment, they should know the commitment in blood being made by the Afghan police and soldiers. They are losing an average of 115 policemen and 57 soldiers killed in action every month.


Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.



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