Just months after taking office, President Barack Obama leapt at the opportunity to announce a massive escalation in Afghanistan, adding 21,000 troops to the war effort as part of his “new” strategy.
Here it is, six months later, and the president is faced with adopting another “new” strategy in the face of an ever worsening war and his new commander General Stanley McChrystal is demanding another 45,000 troops on top of the 21,000 already sent.
It wasn’t surprising that, faced with the prospect of committing such a massive number of additional troops to the increasingly unpopular war over the objections of several high ranking Senators, he didn’t instantly embrace the plan.
But even though it seems likely his havering is more about waiting for a more politically convenient time to announce the massive escalation, several Pentagon officials and now the top Democrat on the House Armed Services committee, Rep. Ike Skelton are criticizing him for not immediately committing to it.
Rep. Skelton, who recently warned that popular opposition to the war could destroy America somehow, is cautioning Obama to learn the “lessons of history,” which means to him throwing however many troops and however much money into Afghanistan as the commander wants.
Though polls have showed the vast, vast majority of registered Democrats firmly opposed to the Afghan War, it is noteworthy that among Congressional Democrats the two options being pressed on Obama are either continuing the war at the current levels for the forseeable future or continuing the war with even more troops for the forseeable future. Though Obama may ultimately choose to “split the difference” by offering a smaller escalation and continuing the war for the forseeable future, it seems unlikely the idea of ending the war, ever, will be given any serious consideration.