Seamans: Taking stock in Afghanistan

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(HOST) Warnings that the war in Afghanistan is intesifying have been heard from several knowledgeable sources in recent days. And commentator Bill Seamans hopes the message is being heard.

(SEAMANS) Many are not aware that Gen. Stanley McChrystal became on June 10th the top commander of all American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.  Since taking over he’s been analyzing why the Taliban’s strength has been increasing despite the 21,000 additional troops sent in this year by President Barak Obama following the recommendations of our generals on the ground.  Gen. McChrystal reported Monday that the Afghan situation is "serious."  Translated into people-speak that means we might be losing the battle.  He added that we need a new strategy to wipe out the Taliban which is the core of the terrorism threat here at home and provides the safe haven for al-Qaeda from which the 9/11 attack was launched.

According to Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, our boots on the ground are finding out that the Taliban are showing up as better trained and organized and much tougher fighters than they have been in the past.  The anonymous sources that speak for the Pentagon say that McChrystal also is asking for more troops.  This is bound to wake up our somnolent pundits who are bored because they have nothing new to say about health care except that President Obama is back in town and they think he should start talking tough.

A request to send even more troops into Afghanistan is ammunition for another furious debate in Congress and I hope it will pull the heads of we the people out of the sand to face another rapidly deteriorating unpopular war.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates has launched his own effort to find out why Taliban attacks have driven our casualties up to a record monthly death toll in August.  Also, Gates wants to increase the Army by 22,000 more troops to meet what he calls the "persistent pace" of the war in Afghanistan.

Although the Army has met it’s enlistment quota, recruitment has become extremely difficult and as the economy improves the Army is expected to become a less attractive financial refuge – all of which poses the question: Where are we going to get all the troops we need?   The poison pill answer that will pass no political lips in Washington is that the new manpower demands are putting us another step closer to the possibility that we will be forced to renew the draft.  We hope that Gen. McChrystal’s "serious" warning will persuade our lawmakers to pay "serious" attention to the growing crisis in Afghanistan.

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