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The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

The Student News Site of Clayton High School.

The Globe

Pro-Con Afghanistan troop surge – PRO

On Dec. 1 of last year, President Barrack Obama made a tough decision.  In a speech at West Point, Obama laid out his plans for the war in Afghanistan, including the addition of 30,000 troops.  Though liberals may claim this is a revisiting of Bush-era foreign policy, a troop surge is the only way the U.S. can ensure even partial success in the war-torn nation.

Before I begin, I must make clear that I am no foreign policy or military strategy expert and don’t pretend to be.  I have compiled information from a variety of sources, namely FOX News and The New York Times, and by using the information and analysis from those sources have formulated my opinion.

The first thing that must be understood is that sending additional troops is not the solution to the problem of Afghanistan.  Instead, it is a part of the solution that must be accompanied by, as Obama outlined in his address, greater civilian involvement and strengthening the ability of the Afghans to govern themselves.

Secondly, it must be realized that success in Afghanistan is vital to American security.  Success is an obscure term, but to me it means establishing a strong government that can protect the Afghan people and prevent terrorists from finding refuge in the nation.  If this does not occur – if Afghanistan is left with a weak, corrupt government susceptible to extremist influence – the U.S. will be in grave danger.  The Taliban would likely return and once again harbor al Qaeda militants whose first and foremost goal is to murder innocent Americans as they did eight years ago.

Perhaps some of the opposition to the war is due to the our short-term memory.  Maybe we do not remember going to work or school on a typical Tuesday morning and that same evening sitting at home in front of the television, watching firefighters and rescue workers, faces gray and black with dust and smoke, pull bodies from the rubble left by an attack on the American people.  It has been eight dark years for the U.S., that much is certain, but we must always keep in our minds what terrorism is capable of.  The 2753 Americans killed in New York City on 9/11 remind us that no matter how far away Afghanistan seems, it only takes a moment for the war to come hurtling back home.

In addition, the failed Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines plane heading to Detroit demonstrates the constant threat that extremism poses.  Through a combination of increased security and luck, we have avoided another devastating attack.  Yet if we learn anything from last month’s attempted bombing, it should be that while al Qaeda thrives, we are never safe.

It is therefore very clear that Afghanistan is vital to the security of the American people.  The path to success in Afghanistan lies in establishing a strong central government.  The current Karzai administration is corrupt and incompetent, and one of Obama’s main goals must be to set the leader’s of Afghanistan straight.  The funds, supplies, and blood that we have willingly poured into Afghanistan must not be abused or taken advantage of.

Another key component of American strategy must be to give the Afghan people something to look forward to.  Currently, their country is in shambles and occupied by a foreign military.  To bring the Afghans out of this great time of despair, the U.S. must aid in the development of a quality education system so that the Afghan people, including women, can produce a sustainable and prosperous economy.  The introduction of a larger middle class and greater job market will reduce al Qaeda and other groups’ recruiting abilities and will eventually lead to a more stable and self-sufficient Afghanistan.

None of these goals can be achieved substantially without an increased number of U.S. troops on the ground; a nation constantly barraged by suicide bombings and firefights has no hope for reconstruction.  Additional troops will deny al Qaeda a safe haven, reverse the Taliban’s momentum and strengthen the nation’s government and security forces.  The increased security will also allow civilian efforts to proliferate.

In all, the war in Afghanistan is not one that America can afford to lose.  Without a troop escalation to secure the nation in preparation for civilian reforms, we would be ensuring a prolonged conflict that could end in civil war and disaster.  It is difficult to continue fighting in a war that has been fought for almost a decade and has produced few results – al Qaeda still runs rampant and Osama bin Laden is still alive.  But we must remember that this war, while tragic, provides the security that we as Americans so readily take for granted.  And so, as Obama said in his address to the future men and women of our armed forces, “We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might, and with the commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world that is more secure, and a future that represents not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes.”

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Pro-Con Afghanistan troop surge – PRO