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December 2nd, 2009
08:59 AM ET

Decision: Afghanistan

Last night, the President outlined his new strategy for the war in Afghanistan. The President plans to send another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, but he also says he'll start a troop withdrawal by the summer of 2011.

We want you to share your views on the President’s new war strategy.
Post your comments and Heidi will read some of them in the Newsroom between 10 and 11am ET.


Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Will

    I have complete faith in this President. He's a man of virtue. It is by that virtue we will prevail.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  2. Jeff

    I think it is important to remember that the U.S. helped Afghanistan defeat the Soviet Union in the 1980's and then left. People should rent the DVD "Charlie Wilson's War" to see how poorly thought out the U.S. plan was! The Afghani people have a good reason to be suspicious of the U.S.' motives and willingness and ability to fulfill this mission.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  3. Martin Meadow

    I have a simple comment, altho i know it's not a simple situation – I'm sincerely disappointed that 30,000+ more troops are going to be sent there, even with the suggested 2011 pullout. What if things don't go well and that date goes by the wayside. There have already been too many deaths, too many soldiers severely physically and emotionally wounded, famlies disrupted and broken, PTSD, etc. And to what real gain. When will it really end.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  4. Rod Legg

    I'm not a fan of war but we do have a obligation to attempt to bring resolution to what we began. I support our President and for once in many years I actually believe a leader has America's best interest at heart.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  5. Craig B (Beitzel)

    After several years of a WH that lies to the public in order to declare an illegal Iraq War, and one that has no strategy in Afghanistan, and does not work with the local Afghan people....we finally have a POTUS that actually thinks, and develops a strategy plan. No matter what he would say, the far-right GOP extremists would complain about something. His leadership is striking and his plan will succeed.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  6. frankie

    Why do all the commentators start from the basis that Obama's decision was political, instead of starting from the basis that he spent many weeks coming up with the best possible plan for Afghanistan? It makes sense to me to be sending a big force but letting all sides know that we will not do this forever. Since we know nation-building does not work, and since we know Afghanistan has been a quagmire for countries who tried that, why criticize Obama for not wanting to go there?

    December 2, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  7. Ray

    This is a stragery that is long overdue. The outline plan that he presented is what many military personnel and thier family is what they wanted to hear. We finally have a plan that will provide an exit and not a long drawn out costly war. When you can see the light at the end of a tunnel then you can give more of yourself because you know the end is near.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  8. Michael Plemmons , North Carolina

    No matter how you feel about this war , our troops need our support .
    We have to give them what they need. If more people will help them to get the job done we should send them. They have a better feel for whats going on over there and we should listen to them. They are my brothers in arms since I'm a former marine.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  9. David Kagan

    I am immensely disappointed over President Obama's decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan by authorizing the sending of 30,000 more troops. One of the major reasons that I voted for him for President was my belief that he would extricate us from the military morasses in Iraq and Afghanistan. I predict this escalatory move will later be viewed by all as a huge mistake and that large anti-war demonstrations will once again come to Washington.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  10. C.Myles

    It has been 8 LONG years since we've had a POTUS that is actually quite inteligent, and kows how to generate a real strategy plan....and does not lie and mislead his own public. Obama's plan seems very succinct, well conceived, and has Plan A and B programs for withdrawal. Imagine that...an actual plan for the first time in 8 years. For America it is just too bad that Bush allowed criminals like Cheney to convince him to mislead his own people.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  11. Bob larry

    Troops increase is not a good idea, Afghanistan has not been what is considered a full functioning country. The tribal rules control the different villages/provinces.
    The french and the Russians has failed. You cannot wage a war against political ideology and win. John Kerry said it well,when he call Afghanistan a "police action"

    Thanks you

    December 2, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  12. Jazmin Lovenguth

    Last night President Obama said that the war in Afghanistan is nothing like the war in Vietnam because 43 other nations support what we are doing. Then why is it that these other nations are not sending large numbers of troops like we are? I understand that we have power because we are the U.S. but we also have a $12 trillion deficit and more problems then we can already handle. I also feel that we give too much information out through the media. What kind of "surprise" factor will this 30,000 troop surge have when the Taliban knows that they're coming. My boyfriend is in the USMC and will be deploying sooner than originally anticipated. I am beyond proud of him, his unit, and their dedication to fight for our freedom. However, it is not fair to send these brave men and women overseas unprepared. The difference between our military and the Taliban is that we will die for our country, but we want to live. Extremists don't care about living or dieing.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  13. ken, NJ

    Great speech wrong policy. The taliban did not attack us on 9/11 and al queda are in pakistan and 26 other countries. U.S. soldiers can be trained in 6 weeks so why haven't the afghan soldiers been trained in 8 years. We can't protect FT Hood soldiers from being killed, we can't protect policeman, women and children from being killed in the U.S. , but we think we can protect the afghans. Why wait til 2011 to leave aghanistan, just leave now. If we leave now we will save a trilion dollars and thousands of lives and be just as safe as we are now.
    We need to get over the vengance and move on. Great timing to announce more killing for the christmas season. Welcome to a bloody merry christmas.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  14. seddiquemateen

    Dear Heidi. Hi The problem in Afghanistan is Hunger and unemployment. In the past 8 year, nobody paid attention. If Mr. Obama does not pay attention to it, Taliban will still have upper hand. I went during the election,which I prepared a documentary video, if you are interested, let me know .

    December 2, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  15. Georgette, MD

    I stand with the President and appreciate that he has taken the reins of this war. Now he can set an actual goal (big or small) that once attained opens the door for withdrawal. At least he is thinking about an exit strategy.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  16. Lawrence

    President Obama has a very aggressive time table for Afghanistan.
    I hope he succeeds . It would be a good thing if he would set the same time table for ridding the waste and fraud of tax payer dollars , controlling our own borders, ect.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  17. robert kloster

    On memorial day and veteren's day we revere those who have secured and maintained our freedom. Today we want freedom witrh no cost to us. It doesn't work that way

    December 2, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  18. Steve Dudley

    President Obama, this is not the change the American people voted for. How many mercenaries are we sending in with the 30 + thousand troops and at what cost? The economy, the deficit, the infrastructure, the healthcare abomination – right here at home need help, not to mention our troops need a break from the endless wars. Why continue to waste any more of this countries valuable resources on the foreign mis-adventure which are not vital to everyday Americans? Who is in charge – you or the pentagon & corporations who got is into this quagmire, while we the taxpayers pay for it?

    December 2, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  19. jack rosensteel

    bad decision.they don/t want us there!when we leave they will go back to there old ways of living.why don't we destroy the poppy fields that help suppy alqaeda with money.what don't these politicians understand? they should read history of aghanistan.how many more of our boys have to die or be maimed?get out of there. jack

    December 2, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  20. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    What i seen last night was Obama writing checks that his butt couldnt cash we better complain and stop this before lots of people die.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  21. marie

    HELLO HIEDI: I have a question in reguards to the reporters covering these war torn territiories. Do any of the reporters suffer post tramatic stress syndrome?

    December 2, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  22. Nadia Tarzi

    Heidi,
    As Michael Ware mentioned it is crucial to take into account the regional situation and the players involved in the Afghan war (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and India). Just adding more troops and not addressing these sources of the conflict will act as a band aid yet not solve anything. Tribal elders in Afghanistan's 32 provinces have to be involved in this effort because if the population feels safe enough to stand up to the taliban, it will do so. Ultimately Afghans will have to run the country on their own. Remember December 25 2009 will be the 30th (dark) anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of a 30 year war, it is time to end it.
    The need for a better U.S. allocated funding management to curb corruption, education and training of police/military, involvement of the Afghan diaspora and requesting accountability of Afghan government all have to be addressed. All of the above has to be taken into account if only because no young American soldier's life should ever be put on the line otherwise.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  23. Traudy Hauser

    12/2/09
    Let's help our economic situation. Clean out the prisons and send the criminals over to Afghanistan! Save our innocent people who are paying the taxes and going to war while the undeserving are sitting in the prisons and not serving for our country! Their lives are protected by committing crimes! Being in prison, having TV's, recreation, and even bathroom facilities to what our troops are experiencing is an atrosity to say the least!

    December 2, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  24. Jennie B.

    Heidi, I agree with President Obama's decision to send more troops. This should have been done immediately after 9/11. Instead President Bush chose to waste the lives of our troops searching for bogus weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It appears that everything that President Obama does will be attacked by those who want him to fail. Stop attacking the "man" and support the "leader of the free world."

    December 2, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  25. Lyle Kast

    I do not understand why we are not using our air troops ,with todays technoligy we should be able to put an end to the telabond.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  26. frankie

    Word to McCain.... stop talking. It is impossible to express how tired I am of Republicans speaking for me, and emoting about how they think I think, as if their words were factual. McCain is talking pure politics here and he knows it, he should know it is time to get behind the Commander now. A good plan works best when we all get together and make it work. Obama is walking softly and carrying a big stick with his plans, it's not that complicated to understand.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  27. gina

    I trust President Obama decision on the troops increase, this is a well thought process by the President. For the past 8 years what we have was a " Rambo style war plan" a meal ticket for KBR and Dick cheney

    December 2, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  28. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    He put a date on this because he has no military back ground thats why George Bush wouldnt give a date so the enemy wouldnt just simply wait us out.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  29. Marie Pressler

    First some were saying he was taking too long to make a decision on sending additional troops. Now they criticize he set a date to start a when we made the withdrawal, based on the situation at that time. There's no pleasing some people.Why would anyone want a President who didn't take time to make such an important decision – "Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread". I believe this President to be a caring, intelligent person well suited to his position. I read Greg Mortenson's book and thought it was unfortunate we abandoned them to start the invasion of Iraq.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  30. Paula Raeburn

    President Obama can't catch a break. He gets criticized when he doesn't give details and when he does (timetable for leaving Afganistan) he gets blasted as well. Those on the opposite side were screaming for details, we want details. Well, sit back and listen because you were given details. I seem to recall deadlines have always been given out, which I concur I don't like, but that seems to be the way things work. Mr. McCain, you can't have it both ways. Stop being pompous and try and find ways to be part of a winning team.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  31. Arine Ward

    Congratulations Mr. President! Now we are about to see, what we should have seen 8yrs ago. Instead of others using war to get rich playing the stock market. We are about to see what needed to be done, WAR! The time for the peoples war, of Politics is over. The issue here, is everyone has an opinion but with your opinion which your entitled to, however you do more harm gripping on a time line...oh well, "Strategy" is the key, and until you can look at this as a WAR, instead of it being debated in congress...Sell your stocks, buy your stocks, do what you have to do..its going to happen, its been ordered, and none of this 18month talk means diddle its War Time!

    December 2, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  32. Lyle Kast WI.

    Read Ken from NJ comments he is correct, us our air troops, stop the media from telling the world what our plans are. Sneek attack from the air with todays technology and pull out. We can't stop some thing that has been going on for ever, we should be alittle more concerned about taking care of the US its self we the people of the United States.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  33. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    What bothers me is people continuing to insist that we started this war just how did we start this war .This war happend because a loony tune crashed two jets into our sky scrapers in New York in the name of his god so quit saying that we started this war please thats ignorant .

    December 2, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  34. Rev. William Peake

    I voted for Barack Obama. I am war weary. I am old enough that I cannot and will not serve in my nation's military. But none of us is so old that we will not serve in one way or another.

    I grieve my president's choice to deploy 30,000 troops to the war torn part of the world where ancient hatreds and cultural diversities reign. However, I will stand with my president. I believe that Barack Obama is a man of honor faced with an unsavory reality. I do not relish his choice though I do respect his leadership. I trust his spirit.

    Nearly thirty years ago when I was a much younger man, I accepted a responsibility. This Thursday I will charge another young man with the same responsibility that I took and countless other men of integrity received. That responsibility follows:

    "In the State, you are to be a quiet and peaceful subject, true to your government and just to your country. You are not to countenance disloyalty or rebellion, but patiently submit to legal authority and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the country in which you live."

    I stand with you, Mr. President. May God be with you, with our sons and daughters in uniform, with the men and women of Afghanistan. May God bring light to the current darkness in our world, in our politics, in our land.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  35. Fred

    Are we just in Afghanistan because of 911? Or are there other "Interests" that are not discussed with the public that keeps us there.?

    December 2, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  36. David Larsen

    Now that the president has authorized additional troops, I fully expect and demand that the Republican leadership introduce the bill that will fully fund the effort. If they do not, they are really not supportive of our troops.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  37. Terry Allen

    Specifically, what are our vital national interests in Afganistan?

    December 2, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  38. Bruce Carlson

    President Obama never said he would begin to bring troops home in July 2011. He said "After 18 months we will begin to bring troops home". He didn't say how long after 18 months.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  39. carl

    I do believe the President has laid it out as clearly as possible for the american people and for the military. I'm sorry for John McCain and the fact he believes the President shouldn't have announced a departing schedule for the troops to leave Afghanistan. John McCain doesn't understand how the President could have done such a stupid thing. Actually, it's not stupid at all, but in fact it's brilliant because, the enemy doesn't know if the President is trying to confuse the enemy or is actually telling the truth. They will not actually know exactly what our troops will be doing over there except to kick the talibon out of Afghanistan and how long it will take. I think the President and the generals also, have other plans to out wit the talibon.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  40. Pete Shell

    I think that Afghanistan is a lot like Vietnam. The longer the military stays there, the more resistance will grow. The war is unpopular, it’s unwinnable, and it’s wrong.

    Pete Shell
    Pittsburgh, PA

    December 2, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  41. Bill T.

    I have a rather essential question, that needs to be answered along with all the theories and hypotheticals.

    Aren't we essentially trying to stage manage a civil war in a fractured nation state, now in the process of reverting to its tribal (feudal ) origins? If so, I really question the delusional approach of our country's military and political elites. Obama's delusions are no different than Bush-era delusions, notwithstanding the artificiality of time lines.

    The West's aspirations for imposing western values on foreign societies are no different than our sordid history suppressing our own native American population. Power politics equals power politics, sugar-coated or not.

    Further, most of the successes against terrorism since 9/11 have not been military victories – they have been a result of hard work by intelligence agencies around the world, followed up with effective enforcement. The argument of denying a base-op to Al Queda rings hollow.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  42. Sarah Cristina

    I respect President Obama but I am dismayed at the fact that he constructed a strategy involving our tax paying dollars to pay for 18 more months of an estimate $5 billion per month of war. If the outcome of this war is so undetermined, should we go broke trying to find some perspective of what McCain calls success?

    December 2, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  43. Dan

    Heidi,
    We are stuck between a rock and a hard spot. What the President couldn’t say was that if we were to leave Afghanistan there would be a bloodbath. Probably tens of thousands would die.
    It was mismanaged for the last 6 years and now we have to pay the price. Fix it the best we can then get out. The fact is we could stay in the region forever and never solve their problems.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  44. Frederic Rounds

    President Obama gave a brilliant speech last night. Without saying directly, he announced our withdrawal from Afghanistan. We're going to do a little push-back against the Taliban, then leave.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  45. Bob

    A war tax to finance the war should be implemented. It would pay for the war and get all americans involved. It should be a percentage graduated up according to income, to include individuals, business and corporations. Then lower income america would not be the majority of people involved in fighting the war.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  46. Paula

    Lease we forget why we are in Afghanistan. It is to protect our shores according to the Bush/McCain admin. Obama's time limit goal gives our military and the Afghan Government. a working, and achieveable relationship. Hence, I see no controversy here!

    December 2, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  47. Vicky Tartter

    The decision to announce the withdrawal at 18 months is NOT just a political expediency for people in the US. It is strategically important. It puts the Afghanistan government on notice as to how long they can count on us, and so urges them to get their act together forthwith. It puts the Afghan people on notice that this is not an open-ended occupation.

    If our goal is to turn the Afghani popular opinion toward us and away from Taliban and other extremists, it is critical that these messages be sent and believed. Incidentally, it is reassuring at home.

    I don't know that the entire strategy will work, but it seems that all the constraints and possibilities have been carefully considered. It is up to Congress and the American people to decide if it is worth the gamble. I believe it is. I think further that Congress should take the political gamble, and agree to fund this by a tax increase that can sunset with the war.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  48. Dean in los angeles

    I think they should pay the Afghan tribal chiefs to keep the taliban out. it's about monopoly of force not so much democracy. thanx 4 making your blog more mobile friendly

    December 2, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  49. sahara campelini

    i think obama took too long to make a decison. he seems arrogant and ignorant.if it dosent work, he can only blame himself.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  50. Arnold Ondarza

    President Obama’s has put forward a clear and comprehensive plan against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The strategy is all-inclusive and developed with input from the best minds available; something that did not happen eight years ago. Republican neo-cons should be elated by the President’s commitment to finally take the war to the terrorists.

    We went to Afghanistan to punish Al Qaida for the 911 atrocity. George Bush and Dick Cheney had no intensions to wage war against the terrorists. Iraq was their target all along. Their plan backfired and we wasted eight years and billions of dollars on the so called War on Terror.

    The travesty about these wars is that more than four thousands American soldiers have died needlessly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cheney-Bush recklessness has made Al Qaida stronger and global in numbers. Now we must pay again for the Cheney-Bush folly, at a time we can least afford it.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  51. John, Atlanta

    30,000 more soidiers and more equipments is not likely to resolve this issue. The Taliban and Al'Qarda groups could either reinforce to fight it out or lie low until we leave the country. The strategy of this war from the begining has been poor. We could have gone there after 9/11 with all our might, take care of the bad boys and left. That would have saved us the billions of Dollars and human lives.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  52. Loren Pickerill

    Why are we in this war, with our troops on the ground with simply a rifle? where is the Air Force and the air support needed to win this war. America has seemed to forgotten how to fight a war this sends the wrong message. We need to be in this war with all the force needed to win. Also what is in this war to benefit America? Where is America's spoils of war? When you go to war you need to be gaining some sort of benefit like Gold, free Oil, Territory, something, or we don't need to be there. We need to be gaining more besides more of our boys dying on the ground. I'm not against the war but we need to be in it to win, and be prepared to give it all we can to win What if we had fought germany during WWII this way I feel we would have lost terribly. Remember they started this war and we need to finish it for them.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  53. Roberto Martinez

    I strongly support President Obama with the surge of our Military
    troops. However we must be successful and win. We cannot run
    out of this conflict. We must show the world we are a strong
    America and we have a strong President who will not back out
    from his word and will stand powerful in the eyes of the WORLD.

    ROBERTO

    December 2, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  54. Wilson

    Afghanistan poses numerous problems that have not been fully addressed by this administration or the previous administration.

    The main problem is the sources of income for the Taliban/Al Queda/other insurgents: opium. Treating this source of revenue as a drug, and fighting it like we do in the "war on drugs" is a foolish strategy. Poppies can be replanted, just like any other plant. Poppies are grown by Afghan farms for much the same reason that cocoa is grown by Columbian or Bolivian farmers, it brings in more money that other cash crops like wheat or bananas. Any person, when faced with poverty, will grow whatever it is that makes them the most money. Punishing them for doing this does not win "hearts and minds" but rather turns the populace against us. Using DEA agents to catch these farmers, burning their crops and arresting people for growing poppies is not only useless, it's counterproductive.

    The real world strategy, which no one wants to admit (especially in the government and media because we have to support the failed war on drugs) is to BUY the opium from these people people. If we purchase opium from Afghan farmers, it gives them money, deprives our enemies of income and gives the world a huge amount of opuim that can be processed into drugs such as morphine, codeine and other pain killers. Buying opium from these people would be fairly cheap, reducing the cost of these prescription painkillers to consumers, hence it would actually end up helping with health care costs.

    December 2, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  55. Connie Banks

    I do not here anyone talking about the cost of this war like they are for health care for the US people. My sister has cancer and was sent home to die because she has no health care insurance.
    Connie from KC

    December 2, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  56. Michael A Chiofalo

    Hello Heidi, I never had as much faith in any other Preisent then I do for Barack Obama. He truely is a President with a clear plan, I am proud to an Ameircan. The speach was from the heart , They need to stop fighting him and cut out the party lines,remember it was President Bush that took his eye off the ball, 30,000 is the number needed to bring this to closure and get back to the issues on the home front then am standing with my President . I have friends that are over there ! Thank you Mr President MICHAEL A CHIOFALO

    December 2, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  57. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    How many of you that support this half way put together plan has ever served in the military this isnt a plan this is a messure to hold our ground only. we can not gain control with only 100 thousand troops which is all there will be with rotation and leave without Nato and Permision to follow the enemy into Pakistan theres only stalemate.

    December 2, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  58. mpease

    I know we were handed this 8 year unfunded mess we call Afaganistan from G.W. and his funny little 5 draft deferment sidekick Dick Cheney (the dither around for 8 years in Afganistan and then pin medals on each others chest crew ) But I feel now ,if we are going to continue on, we need all of the fear mongering fiscal conseratives to put up or shut up. That is, have the guts to pay for this mess. I am tired of the right wing talking about fiscal responsibilty as the banks and insurance industry loot our coffers. If this war is vital to our national security then it is time to start paying for it. Where are all the Tea Baggers when it comes to this bill that we are handing over to our children , financed with Chinese money, for this war? It seems when the Tea baggers are not parroting the insurance lobbys talking points or the high dollar lobbist like Dick Army(so called freedom works,remember Dick Army left the government because the pay is so much better now as a lobbist or Fox News and the town hall scams bred with fearmongering and lies) that they have nothing to say. It is ok for Haliburton and Blackwater to rip us off not to mention all the other corporations that are benifiting from this war. Patriotism is more than a logo on a sweatshirt or flag waving on a parade route it is actually giving the soilders what they need to win this war and then bringing them home. Start a draft ,If the generals want 100,000 more troups give it to them. Give them the best armoured veichles,body armour,and all the other tools that yes, money can buy . Then bring them home. If you want this war to end ,start paying for it . I can see all the Patriots lining up now with their tax dollars.

    December 2, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  59. creatis

    poor president trying so hard to please liberals and conservatives when he should only focus on doing whats right for the security of this nation.He built his campaign on the basis of change and voted against the war in iraq but decided to send more troops in a region controlled by taliban forces and history has clearly shown us we cant win there.Whatever happen to the president we voted for?

    December 2, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  60. BJazz

    I don't get these people who are acting surprised and saying that this isn't what they voted for Obama for. He promised to do this. If you are shocked, you weren't paying attention. Don't vote next time if you are ignorant of what your candidate stands for!

    December 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  61. Canam

    This President is INSANE. Totally and irrevocably INSANE.

    December 2, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  62. Mike McIntyre

    There is a very important unasked question so far in the discussion of the President's proposal: If you were a culture that fights wars with time-scales measured in centuries, what would you do if your adversary announced its departure in 18 months? The answer could well be "lie low." If so, this means that the President's approach – surge and withdraw – cold well have bought him 18 months of relative quite, to be followed by a Taliban surge upon America's departure. Fundamental to this is whether or not anyone can get the Afghan military up to speed within the set time frame. My guess is they will be no match for a rested Taliban in 18 months.

    December 2, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  63. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Your kidding! poor mr. president hes not the one holding a gun and looking into the barrel of another gun how about this poor soldiers being sent to fight a war with a Micky mouse plan.

    December 2, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  64. Angie

    Did Obama say we were going to Depart in 18months? Did Obama say he had a dead line?
    Regarding the pulling out of Extra Troops, Obama said, "then we may begin to pull them out in 18 month."
    Does not sound as definite as some have suggested. But it does sound like it can be readjusted as needed.
    Plus, some the troops that were promised in the spring are still on the schedule to be sent.
    They are Not included in the in last nights speech, so they are not in cluded in any pull out yet.
    Plus, there are troops that have been their since before Obama took office
    they are not included in any pull out yet either.
    Doesn't any of you know how to listen?
    Don't any of you know how to read?

    December 2, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  65. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Heck Angie I can read fine but my spelling sucks.

    December 2, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  66. Roger

    Do you really think the U.S. will give a true time line and where we will focus our 30,000 extra troops on national television? The enemy is watching this just like we are! So the big question is....What is really going on.

    Thanks

    December 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  67. anonymous

    The US is saying it doesn't want a permanent presence in Iraq or Afghanistan. However, all we have to do is look at Japan where we still have 47,000 troops and bases 65 years after the end of WWII war and I haven't heard anyone say when we're leaving. We also have about 30,000 troops and bases in South Korea which have been there for 50 years after the unofficial end of the Korean War. We also have thousands of troops still in Germany 65 years after the end of the WWII. I know about China & North Korea as possible threats but we should have trained and equipped the Japanese and Koreans to deal with any threats their countries security and as for Germany there is no and hasn't been any since the fall off the Berlin wall 20 years ago & WWII 65 years ago. Until someone tells me why were still in these countries which I think the new media should press the administration on. I don't believe the administration when they say we will pull all American troops out of Iraq & Afghanistan. We should not have troops or military bases in any country but the US. We can ask other countries if we can use their military bases, hospital or medical facilities if we need to. We also should not have gargantuan embassies in any countries especially Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, anywhere in the Middle East Central Asia, or anywhere in the world is for that matter. This doesn't we will be isolationist; it just means we will respect the sovereignty other countries. We have too many permanent military bases outside of the US & we need to close them all now!

    December 2, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  68. David

    It may be that success in Afghanistan will not come in the same way as in Iraq, though there is a surge in both. As a country Afghanistan is politically and culturally more together that Iraq for one thing. There are an enormous number of troops NATO and US in the country already. And the people of Afghanistan see what they want and need clearly. They are intimately aware of their country's needs and want to get to work on satisfying those needs.

    The President may see a chance for success in Afghanistan and so desires to keep pushing. We may have to chase down success with a surge of forces. In someways this committment is more open ended than the surge in Iraq that came after a knock down drag out fight with congress and came also with intense pressure by congress.

    I think, Heidi, on the question of help from international partners we enjoy the help from numerous partners, would you agree, and it comes to the US and the country of Afghanistan getting things moving. Maybe just talking and communicating more.

    December 2, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  69. Corporal Anderson

    As a CURRENT soldier & combat medic, I was advised not to read the comments that CIVILIANS are making about the war because most dont have any interest other than financial. Looking at this blog, I dont see support for us, your troops. I see its gonna cost this, its gonna cost that. We need your UNCONDITIONAL support more than ever right now. You have the luxury of going home to your families EVERYDAY. I have a 9 year old that I have seen 3 out of those 9 years. Ultimately, we soldiers pay the price whether it be loss of limbs, loss of family because they cant handle this lifestyle or the ultimate price of loss of life. Make no mistake; I love my country & love protecting it but some of these comments made make me wonder, is it worth it?

    December 2, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  70. Professor Douglas C. Bowman, PH.D.

    Some years ago, following 9-11, we heard Ben Laden, on behalf of al-Quaida, say that it was his desire to return the Islamic world to the Caliphatic period, worldview and mentality, which means the world of the seventh century wherein the Islamic world was torn concerning who should be the true follower and leader after Mohammad. Since those days the Islamic world has been in perpetual conflict. That conflict still governs the ENTIRE world of Islam. Must we step into that conflict in Afganistan, thinking we can make over that nation into something resembling the modern western world?

    I suggest CNN look into the question: Who is going to make money should we enter into another surge and obvious military quagmire in Afganistan? I for one am struck by the fact that suddenly all kinds of Republicans are "on Board" after Obama's speech. Is Eisenhower's proverbial "Military Industrial Complex" rearing its ugly head at the expense of our sons and daughters?

    December 2, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  71. Amy

    Why don't we have some of the Muslim nation help in Afghanistan! Like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and other peaceful nations who are Muslim.

    They are part of the UN!

    Why are we telegraphing our moves to the terrorists?

    They wait for 18 months and threaten local leaders who are working with us and kill them when 18 months are up!

    Casualties are small compare to WW2, Korean War, and Viet Nam!

    People we are at War!

    December 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  72. MenfesQidus

    To their own defence it weakens the temptations to an agressive policy, whether working directly by arms, or through the prestige of superior power. It of course puts an end to war and diplomatic quarrels, and usually also to restrictions on commerce, between the States composing the Union while, in reference to neighbouring nations, the increased military strength conferred by it is of a kind to be almost exclusively available for defensive, scarcely at all for aggressive, purposes. A federal government has not a sufficiently concentrated authority to conduct with much efficiency any war but one of self-defence, in which it can rely on the voluntary co-operation of every citizen nor is there anything very flattering to national vanity or ambition in acquiring, by a succesful war. The utmost they can do is to give some of their best men a commission to look after it; to whom the opinion of their own country neither be much of a guide in the perfomance of their duty, nor a competent judge of the mode in which it has been performed. Let any one consider how China themselves would be governed if they knew and cared no more about their own affairs than they know and care about the affairs of India. Even this comparison gives no adequate idea of the state of the case for a people thus indifferent to politics altogether would probably be simply acquiescent and let the government alone.

    Keep on the good work Heidi in the point of view whahaha

    December 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  73. Adina Kennell

    Has anyone heard of the World War II saying "Loose Lips Sink Ships"?

    The amount of information given out by our government is ridiculous.
    Why don't we just send the Talaban our military plan? Do we think they don't listen to our news? Do we think they are stupid and can't figure out that if they leave the are for 18 months and give us false confindence in our military accomplishments that we will leave and then they can come back in force?

    We all need to shut up!

    December 2, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  74. Ramon

    There we going again, the decision to send more troops to a ,retrograde country is wrong. We have to surgically remove terrorist using technology like the drums airplane and using special navy seal forces. Moreover, is not necesary to send troops to harm way. We are engaging the business of changing cultures an people realities around the world. We want to make the Afghans think and live like Americans. This mentality of of "building countries and people mind just increase the hate to us. Qakaida is not in there anymore they move to other supportive countries. We also can not change people interpretation and perceptions of their religious believe. In simple words we can not change people experiences embeded in their's amigdala the part of the brain that give memory, learning and record a life long of experiences. Now we going to sweep the country, be there and leave, they will hide and return like always to take over again and continue with their's belief and realities. We need to not ot change peolpe beliefs, cultures, and experiences. The russian wore not able to do it before, why we just focus in increasing our borders, implemting security measurements to give visas and entrance in this country. To implement a strong homeland security like the Isrelis, and learn from them. Leave the poor people there alone, let them be Afghans, and practice whatever religious they like. Furthermore, focus on our house , our econmy not we another war that do not make sense. It is too late, instead of attacking Saddams and waste precious live, resources and time. The place of training was Afghanistan for terroris not Iraq. I feel a great deception from the President, I was expecting a logical thinking and a more thinking logically over feelings. Well it is his decision and I support my troops and also have to suport Him . History will decide if he was right, and I support Him as my commander in chief.
    Good Bless America

    December 3, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  75. Bill Carr

    It is not our job to permenently police the world. Send 100,000, get it done and get out of there!

    December 3, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  76. Bernie Lemieux

    President Obama hopes to deliver a severe blow to the the Taliban within 18 months. That will not happen soon because they are moving to their winter mountain caves for the next few months. They will just wait it out and let the americans play their war games. They will emerge in late spring stronger than ever and sow disarray and demoralization in the american ranks. They only thing the americans can do in the short term is put Kandahar under siege; block and control all access routes to the city and eradicate the Taliban from the city. This would be a big blow to the Taliban as Kandahar is their spiritual centre. The vast majority of Afghans do not believe that Afghanistan will ever be controlled by a central goverment. Their lives are controlled in a feudal/medieval way by drug lords and war lords who are their employers, defenders, justice and security providers and their executioners if they don't comply with their wishes. It's all they have ever known. It's their only source of employment and since the war, the Taliban. They believe that without the drug lords,war lords and the Taliban, they will starve to death. There never, ever will be a real united Afghanistan as long as the drug lords, war lords and Taliban powers are fuelled by drugs. Their very survival depends on it.
    Jobs will have to created to change their mindset and get them to support the central government. Small entreprises using indigenous materials and funded by micro-loans should be encouraged; cooperative farming, clay to make bricks for housing, local fibers to start a local textile industry ect......NATO wants to increase the number of afghan soldiers and policemen. That's fine but their allegiance is as thin as the dollar that pays them. If the Taliban ever gets the upper hand, God help us. Things could deteriorate from an orderly exit strategy to a "Catastrophic debacle". How would you exit rapidly with your troops, supplies and hardware? Thru Pakistan: I don't think so. Thru Russia: I think not. Thru Iran: laughable. There is no major sea port for hundreds of miles. Something to think about. I pray that president Obama's plan will be successful and that Afghanistan will emerge as a stable democratic country. Good luck with your mission!

    December 3, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
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