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Afghanistan: Mr. President, My Recommendations


Location: Washington, DC

The United States military is the best fighting force in the world. I have no doubt in their ability to carry out the missions for which they've been trained.

Given full resources, unflinching support from the President, and moral authority to win, they can achieve victory anywhere in the world.

Tomorrow, after 8 years of war in Afghanistan, the President will announce the results of his year-long deliberation process. I have three suggestions for the President:

1) Mr. President, go big or go home. Our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines are trained to fight and WIN wars. They are the best trained and equipped fighting force in the world. But we've tied their hands. The American people want us to give our troops everything they need to win so they can come home. In short, give them everything they need or bring the troops home.

* First, we must define the mission: Our military is not a defensive force for rough neighborhoods around the world. They are trained to be an offensive, mission-driven military force to protect the United States of America. They are not trained to be nation builders or policemen. They are trained to be an aggressive machine that destroys and eliminates the enemy. Give them a mission and then get out of the way. They will accomplish the mission swiftly with outstanding results.

* Second, we must redefine the Rules of Engagement: A politically correct war is a lost war. If we are going to sacrifice lives and resources in this fight, we must go in with everything we have. We must be committed to win. But then we must go home. Anything short of an all-out commitment to accomplish the mission puts too many American lives at risk.

We can win any war, Mr. President, but only with your full commitment to the mission. Absent such a commitment, our presence in Afghanistan does nothing more than endanger our troops, compromise our readiness, and waste our money.

2) Mr. President, it is time to bring our troops home. If our mission in Afghanistan is simply to protect the populace and build the nation, then I believe the time has come to bring our troops home.

We have successfully rooted out Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan. Fewer than 100 Al-Qaeda operatives are operating in Afghanistan according to Retired General James L. Jones' assessment of the situation. "I don't foresee the return of the Taliban," he said in an October 4 Associated Press report. Jones, who is President Obama's National Security Advisor, continued: "Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling. The al Qaeda presence is very diminished. The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies."

Mr. President, we all recognize that we will still have to fight Al-Qaeda around the globe. So let's bring home the tens of thousands who have fought so valiantly to protect America. Let's instead use the best human and electronic surveillance available to allow our special forces to target and kill those who actually threaten us.

Retired General Chuck Krulak, 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps, has suggested "Hunter-Killer Teams" with resources and rules of engagement that allow them to root out the enemy and suppress any Al-Qaeda entrenchment. I concur with the retired General. If the mission is to root out Al-Qaeda, we do not need to risk the lives of tens of thousands of troops to fulfill it.

3) Mr. President, as long as I have your ear, these are the real threats.

While we're addressing what must be done in Afghanistan, let us recognize the greatest national security threats we face. Our success in Afghanistan thus far has diminished the threats once posed in that corner of the globe. However, there remain even greater threats that must be addressed if our security and prosperity are to be protected.

· Iran: From my perspective, as a nation Iran represents the most immediate, genuine threat to world peace. We must not allow them to achieve nuclear capabilities. I fear the current administration is giving them precisely what they need . . . time. The time to take out this threat is now.

· Terrorism: Potential terrorist attacks are a clear and present danger to the United States of America. Whether they originate in Afghanistan or any other country, we must continue to pour resources into our international efforts to collect and analyze intelligence in real time. While protecting our domestic liberties, ongoing vigilance will be one of our greatest challenges now and for generations to come.

· Debt: Finally, the single greatest threat to the long-term stability of the United States of America is our national debt. Our prosperity and unparalleled quality of life are at stake. Our inability to control our internal spending creates a national security risk. Our dependence on foreign credit has placed control of our future in the hands of our potential enemies. Should others decide to dump our debt, or equally as cataclysmic, stop buying our future debt on the world markets, our nation could face calamities we have never before seen. This danger is real, it is imminent, and it continues to be ignored. In fact, current policies and actions have put us in even greater danger.

Mr. President, in my humble opinion I believe it is time to bring our troops home. The troops have fought valiantly and won. Yet, the fight is not over. For generations the United States must continue to hunt and kill terrorists around the world who want death and destruction for the American people.

Mr. President, if you believe we must continue to fight in Afghanistan with tens of thousands of our men and women, let's do so with a full commitment to win by giving the commanders in the field everything they need so they can bring all of our troops home swiftly and safely.

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