Minnick Urges Idahoans To Support Efforts In Afghanistan
Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick released the following statement:
"I commend the president for making the wise choice of listening to his generals on the ground. As he said tonight, our national security is closely tied to our ability to bring stability and security to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"The strategy set forth tonight is one that has helped improve the situation in Iraq. Increasing the number of troops will give us more manpower and resources to work with local tribes and bring them to our side in the fight against al Qaeda. These local tribes must be our allies in the fight against terrorism, and can help us weaken al Qaeda's ability to spread that terrorism abroad.
"Like the president, I am concerned about the Afghan central government, which has shown little interest in cleaning up its own corruption. I believe that we must fight the corruption, but I know from my own time in Afghanistan as a young man that the politics of the region are tricky. Afghanistan has never had a strong central government, and I believe that making it so will be exceedingly difficult.
"That is why the focus of this effort must be local stability, something our military has learned to do very well. In addition to increased military power, there are steps we can take to improve the country and the lives of its residents. As the president suggested tonight and as I suggested in my letter to him, economic programs that offer meaningful incentives to farmers and landowners will be a key element to winning the trust of the Afghan people.
"Idahoans have a wide range of opinions on how best to achieve lasting peace. As Americans, it is crucial to rally behind our Commander in Chief and the brave men and women in harm's way. And we owe it to each other to seek a renewed commitment to community and to the shared patriotism we all had after the attacks of 9/11."
Minnick joined a bipartisan delegation for a trip to the U.S. Military Academy where they attended the president's address to the nation.
The president is expected to set forth a new strategy for fighting the war in Afghanistan. Over a month ago, Minnick sent a letter to President Obama, detailing Minnick's thoughts on how the administration should consider a path forward in the region and in the global fight against terrorism.
"I urge you to give General [Stanley] McChrystal's assessment fair consideration and, should you decide to adopt his strategy, give him the resources he needs to succeed," Minnick states in the letter.
Minnick is a lifelong businessman who served in the military, worked at the Pentagon, in the Office of Management and Budget, and served in the Nixon White House. As part of his work on drug enforcement issues for the White House, Minnick traveled to Afghanistan as an adviser on the fight against the opium trade and tribal feuding in the region.