Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama's Surge

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama announced the deployment of an additional 17,000 U.S. forces to Afghanistan. As the war enters its seventh year, this surge of troops has received little media attention in comparison with the months-long debate over the early 2007 "surge" in Iraq.

In the latest reports to come out of Afghanistan, a new survey showed that civilian deaths increased by 40% in the year 2008. In that year alone, over 2,100 civilians were killed. In other reports, nearly 80% of the Afghan people disapprove of the war in their country and an overwhelming majority predict the situation to worsen over the next years.

On Tuesday, President Obama commented on Afghanistan, noting that the situation "actually appears to be deteriorating at this point."

"I'm absolutely convinced that you cannot solve the problem of Afghanistan, the Taliban and the spread of extremism in the region solely through military means," he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "We're going to have to use diplomacy, we're going to have to use development."

Despite President Obama's rhetoric urging diplomacy over military means, his solution to send 17,000 more U.S. troops clouds his statements.

Yesterday, Afghan authorities confirmed the deaths of 13 civilians in a U.S. unmanned drone missile strike on Monday near Herat. According to AFP, among the dead were six women and two children.

Before the U.S. began occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, the Soviet Union fought their own war and occupied its terrority from 1980-1988. The Soviet Union collapsed one year later.

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