Today, Congressman David Scott released the following statement about President Obama's new direction in the United States' strategy in Afghanistan.
The President made a compelling case to the American people for increasing our troop strength by some 30,000 and calling on our NATO allies to share in the sacrifice and increase their troop presence by 5,000 as well. As a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly I have been pushing for more NATO support with my colleagues from other nations.
Before I can lend my full support to the President's proposal, there are many difficult questions that I and my constituents want to have answered: What exactly will the mission of these additional troops be and how will we define victory? Will the goal be to eradicate Al Qaeda or to provide for nation-building? If it is to eliminate Al Qaeda then how do we deal with Pakistan, where we know Al Qaeda leaders are hiding? If it is to facilitate nation-building, then how do we work to eradicate corruption and ineptitude in the Afghan government which will be vital to the stability? What sort of additional strain will this buildup place on our troops and their families, and how do we moderate that affect? And lastly but just as importantly, how do we pay for the cost of increased deployment?
While the President did address some of these issues, I think further clarification is in order. As such, tomorrow when Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mullen testify before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, I plan to ask them these tough questions and try to get the answers that my constituents are demanding. To succeed, we must move forward with the American people and our allies having a clear understanding of our strategy.