One of the more intriguing positions that Sen. Obama has taken is his firm stance that Afghanistan is the center of the war on terror and that the US needs to ramp up its troop commitment there by 30 to 40 percent (add two to three brigades to the 34,000 US troops already there).
I believe U.S. troop levels need to increase. And I for at least a year now have called for two additional brigades, perhaps three. I think it’s very important that we unify command more effectively to coordinate our military activities. But military alone is not going to be enough. The Afghan government needs to do more, but we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front on our battle against terrorism. …
I think one of the biggest mistakes we’ve made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here. We got distracted by Iraq.
And despite what the Bush administration has argued, I don’t think there’s any doubt that we were distracted from our efforts not only to hunt down Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but also to rebuild this country so that people have confidence that we were here to stay over the long haul, that we were going to rebuild roads, provide electricity, improve the quality of life for people.
And now we have a chance, I think, to correct some of those errors. There’s starting to be a growing consensus that it’s time for us to withdraw some of our combat troops out of Iraq, deploy them here in Afghanistan, and I think we have to seize that opportunity. Now is the time for us to do it.
I think it’s important for us to begin planning for those brigades now. If we wait until the next administration, it could be a year before we get those additional troops on the ground here in Afghanistan, and I think that would be a mistake. I think the situation is getting urgent enough that we have got to start doing something now. [original transcript] [emphasis mine]
Even more striking, Sen. Obama has threatened to invade Pakistan if necessary in order to capture terrorists.
Standing in front of a Stars and Stripes flag, Mr Obama said: “There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”
How ironic if after Pres. Bush's winning surge in Iraq, Pres. Obama would follow that up with a “surge” in Afghanistan sure to heat up that conflict--and at a time when our NATO allies are unwilling to send more troops. Worse yet, spreading the conflict to Pakistan by invading that country. Not to mention the possible reversal of all the good effects of the surge in Iraq by the premature “redeployment” of US troops out of Iraq. Talk about a possible quagmire.