Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Manan Trivedi on Afghanistan

From the inbox, from Manan Trivedi, Democratic candidate for 6th congressional district:

"I commend the President’s efforts to speak plainly and bluntly to America regarding the war in Afghanistan. His honest and direct approach is a refreshing change. However, I disagree with his assessment of the situation and his decision to send 30,000 more troops to the region.

"As a battlefield doctor who served on the frontlines in Iraq, I have firsthand experience with the grimmest consequences of war. The risks we ask our men and women in uniform to take are immense. We must be certain this risk is outweighed by its gain for our country. While I am committed to fighting Al Qaeda and protecting America by any means necessary, I am not convinced that a troop build up in Afghanistan will provide any significant or meaningful advances in this effort. In a historically difficult region with major corruption within its governing bodies, a true and long-lasting solution must be an innate one that rises from within its own people – not one that is thrusted upon them from a foreign force. Moreover, Al Qaeda exists and operates in many regions of the world and focusing on just Afghanistan allows these other outposts to prosper. Lastly, several issues surrounding this plan are still unaddressed. They include how we are going to pay for this build-up, the specific metrics and benchmarks we would use to measure success and how “winning” is ultimately defined, the details of what we are expecting from Hamid Karzai and his government as well as the Pakistani leadership, and what our plans are to address the opium trade in Afghanistan – which dismayingly the President did not even mention in his speech tonight.

"Therefore, I do not believe sending an additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan is a wise use of America’s money or a worthwhile risk of American lives. "

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