President Obama decided Tuesday evening to augment coalition forces in Afghanistan, angering anti-war liberals (though they formerly said the opposite). I support the President's plan to add U.S. 30,000 troops. Here's two reasons why the left should too:
- The Afghan people want us to stay: Life in Afghanistan is improving, as even the New York Times recognizes. And a recent poll of Afghans conducted by the Asia Foundation reported that (page 40) 70 percent strongly or somewhat agree that local forces still need support from foreign troops. As Julian Glover says in the Guardian (U.K.), "precipitous retreat would certainly result in the collapse of everything we have sustained in Afghanistan, and the triumph of a foul insurgency that would inflict horror on the people of the country and that does not have their support."
- Women will suffer disproportionately should the Taliban triumph: As Trudy Rubin says in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The subjugation of women under the Taliban, who forbade them to work, attend school, or leave home without a male relative, once galvanized Americans' emotions. The freeing of women was a big achievement of the Taliban's ouster. But that issue is receiving little attention as the debate heats up over what our Afghan strategy should be.
So I traveled to Suraya Pakzad's shelter for abused women in Herat as a reminder of the gains women have made, and the terrible price they will pay if the international community turns its back on Afghanistan. . .
Most of all, she hopes Americans won't forget the women of Afghanistan. "The United States came to rescue Afghan women from a terrible situation," says Pakzad, "but the situation hasn't been changed as much as we expected. If they left now, with no guarantee of women's rights, the situation would go back to that of the Taliban years."
Lawyer and former US Army infantry officer (who recently returned from Afghanistan) Tom Cotton in the Weekly Standard:
Although we frequently hear that the fiercely tribal and proud Afghans instinctively rebel against foreign forces, I did not encounter this sentiment during my deployment. Afghans rarely objected to our presence, but they did complain that we haven't provided basic security. When I asked if they would accept more American troops in exchange for improved security, the overwhelming answer was yes.(via Normblog)