Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Will Send Them 15,000 by 15,000

President Obama decided this week to send an additional 30,00 troops to Afghanistan. I oppose this move because I think it prolongs the attempt at a military solution where there is no military solution to be found. The position which John Kerry took in the 2004 election is I believe the right one; Terrorism is a law enforcement issue much more than a military one.

The correct way to defeat international terrorism is to increase use of law enforcement methods, and that includes the use of civilian Federal Court system. Increased international cooperation among police and intelligence agencies are also important tools in the arsenal against international terrorism. The best way to combat international terrorism is to invest in resources for 1st responders and capabilities to rebuild, increase the use of law enforcement and criminal justice resources, and reduce the use of the military. It would also be very beneficial to stop taking actions (like invading countries for no reason) that increase the risk of terrorism.

I remember when the purpose of going into Afghanistan was to capture Osama Bin Laden "dead or alive." Somehow that has turned into a long term effort to stabilize Afghanistan. I am afraid that this mission creep will cause the Obama administration to lose sight of the goal, which as far as I am concerned as been to bring the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice. The hijackers can not be brought to justice because they died in the attacks, and the alleged mastermind will brought to trial in a New York courtroom. That leaves only bin Laden as the last real Al Qaeda leader remaining. Since the safe house for the planning of the 9/11 attacks was in Hamburg, Germany, occupying various Afghan provinces does not really make us safer and it might be harmful if this "surge" keeps the government's focus away from Al Qaeda.

I do not feel betrayed by Obama because this is what he said he was going to do. However, I do feel like a moment that could have been used to reorient our policy had been lost. President Obama could have moved towards a more law enforcement approach. Instead he continue the imperial project and increased our military presence, and I do feel very dispaointed about the opportunity missed.

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