Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement in response to the President's announcement of his new policy relative to the war in Aghanistan.
President Obama has inherited many difficult problems from the Bush Administration, but none greater than the issue of Afghanistan. While I respect the painstaking consideration the President has given to this matter over the past weeks, I have grave reservations about the course to which he has committed our nation and our troops:
* Afghanistan has been involved in a violent Civil War since the mid-1970s. We have injected ourselves into this war by propping up one of its participants--the Karzai government. The Pashtuns fight and kill our troops because they view the U.S. presence as a partner of the Karzai government and as an occupier.
* The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, Lt. General, Retired, has been very clear that the Karzai government cannot be relied on for our efforts. They are a corrupt and unreliable partner. Any counterinsurgency effort requires a strong partner and the Karzai government is neither strong nor trusted by its own people.
* The opium trade in Afghanistan is the primary cash crop for an impoverished nation and has lead to enormous corruption, including the Karzai family.
* While the U.S. commits more troops to fight and possibly die for the Karzai regime, the international community has not increased their commitment. Instead, U.S. soldiers, their families, and the American taxpayer are bearing the enormous burdens and the huge sacrifices being made.
* While Al Qaeda does have presence in Afghanistan, it is limited to approximately 100 to 300 total. There are considerably more in Yemen, Somalia, and other failed states. Why 100,000 American troops to face down such a small number?
Afghanistan is the Graveyard of Nations. A thousand years of history instructs us what happens to those who attempt to occupy this land. I have not heard anything that explains how the U.S. will succeed in turning the weight of this history on its head. For these reasons and others, I do not support the surge in troops to Afghanistan.