If you missed President Obama’s speech at the US Military Academy, in which he announced plans to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan (in addition to the 21,000 he authorized earlier), you can watch it here:
You can read the transcript here.
Of course anyone who is surprised simply hasn’t been paying attention to what Obama has said since the Presidential campaign. For him Afghanistan, rather than Iraq, was the necessary war. He strongly suggested that the heavy focus on Iraq during the Bush administration allowed the Taliban and Al Qaeda to regroup and mount a deadly insurgency.
Whether the Iraq war was the cause or not, clearly Afghanistan did not get the attention it needed after the 2003 invasion. As with the economy and the financial crisis, Obama is in the position of having to clean up a mess left by the previous administration.
Obama has asked allies to provide more forces for the war and said the Afghan government will need to take more responsibility for security. His objective is to begin reducing the US presence in July 2011. We shall see.
Some antiwar members of Congress are opposing the troop increase, as is (surprise) Michael Moore. I wish Obama had said something about how the ouster of the Taliban regime had made it possible for millions of Afghan girls to go to school for the first time, and about how that’s an achievement worth protecting.