Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bond, Skelton Urging Action on Afghanistan

At a time when skepticism is growing about the country's longest war, Congressman Ike Skelton is the highest ranking Democrat in Congress to support sending more troops into Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Missouri's top serving elected official fears President Obama is going wobbly on his pledge for a build-up.
"After asking for General Stanley McChrystal’s Afghanistan assessment, it now appears President Obama has buyer's remorse," said Sen. Kit Bond. "Congress needs to hear directly from General McChrystal to ensure political motivations here in Washington don't override the needs of our commanders on the ground."

In a letter to the president, Skelton is also urging him to "waste no time in providing a clear direction" on the Afghan front.

"I am convinced that there is no strategy short of a properly-resourced counter-insurgency campaign that is likely to provide lasting security. But, time is not on our side. Coming from Harry Truman country, I ask myself, ‘What would Harry Truman do?’ And this leads me to urge you to waste no time in providing a clear direction to our commanders and civilian leaders, along with the resources necessary to achieve their mission—and to do so with an understanding that the American and Afghan people, as well as our allies, must see progress in the next 12 months," wrote Skelton in a letter to the president.

Bond wants McChrystal to testify before Congress because he believes the Obama administration has delayed the general's request for more troops. Skelton wrote that he believes McChrystal has "the right plan."

In his letter, Skelton advocates a counter-insurgent strategy: "Carrying out a real population-protection counter-insurgency plan – is not without risks and costs, and victory is not guaranteed . . . Undertaking a counter-insurgency campaign is complex, and it will require additional resources, both civilian and military, and hopefully not all from the United States."

"But we should not conclude yet that all is hopeless – it is not, and I believe the team you recently sent to Kabul, General McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry, would agree. We must not refuse to give this stellar team the time and resources it needs to succeed," Skelton said.
THE PENTAGON has said General McChrystal likely won't be wading into the political debate over troops just yet -- and will instead be focusing on managing the war on the ground.

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