Attention Al Qaeda and Taliban: Here Is Our War Plan for Afghanistan
We don't tell the opposing team our game plan. We don't share our strategy across a card table or over a chess game. Why would we tell the Taliban when we are going to stop the war in Afghanistan - that is, if we expect to win?
No one likes this war. As the father of a soldier wounded in Iraq, my greatest desire is for peace and to bring our troops home and to never lose another American life to a war on foreign shores. But we did not bring on this conflict.
U.S. Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson, R-Pa.
As the President so eloquently said in his address at West Point, "We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women and children without regard to their faith or race or station."
In August of 2008, candidate Obama said that the war in Afghanistan is "not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity ... If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting; this is fundamental to the defense of our people." He was correct back then.
As President, his opinion obviously has changed.
I applaud his decision to send 30,000 troops to "almost" meet the request from the on-the-ground commander General Stanley McChrystal.
The additional troops will enable counterinsurgency operations to protect the population and to enable Afghanistan's democratic government to secure its territory.
But I cannot agree with his decision to tell the Taliban and Al Qaeda that we will transfer forces out of Afghanistan in July 2011 - just as the 2012 election season gets under way. As an Afghanistan official put it, "We couldn't solve the Afghanistan problem in eight years, but now the U.S. wants to solve it in eighteen months? I don't see how it could be done."
I don't disagree with the President's goals of turning the protection of Afghanistan over to its own security forces, who we will train. Nor do I want to see this conflict continue without an endgame.
Where I disagree with the President is that he shared the game plan with our enemies. That decision will demoralize our allies and embolden our enemies.
If the enemy is smart, they will take an 18-month vacation, spend the time recruiting and come back in July 2011 at full strength, re-establish their strongholds and reinstate their terrorist training camps.
What will we have achieved if that is the result?
U.S. Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson is a Bellefonte Republican who represents the Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.