FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
When it comes to Afghanistan, President Obama better be right. After months of meetings and criticism that he was "dithering" and "weak" on Afghanistan - he finally made what may be the most important decision of his presidency.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/02/art.obama.w.pt.gi.jpg caption="President Obama spoke at West Point last night. He laid out his plan for an increase of 30,000 troops in efforts to eventually begin to transition U.S. forces out of Afghanistan starting in July 2011."]
But the announcement to deploy 30,000 additional troops is cloaked in contradiction. We're going to rush more troops in so we can begin to rush them out in 18 months. The Taliban and al Qaeda will probably make a note of this timetable.
You don't suppose the decision to withdraw in July of 2011 would have anything to do with the President's 2012 re-election campaign do you?
There was no mention of how we're going to pay for this. The 30,000 additional troops will cost an additional $30 billion in the first year.
Where's that money going to come from? Some Democrats are calling for a so-called "war surtax." But With a fragile U.S. economy, an unemployment rate topping 10-percent, and a costly health care reform plan on the table - there may not be much appetite for that.
Meanwhile - a new USA Today/Gallup poll suggests the American public has just about gotten its belly full of Afghanistan. Only 35-percent approve of what President Obama is doing there. That's down from 49-percent in September and 56-percent in July. 55-percent disapprove… not the kind of numbers that are likely to lead to a second term. Can you spell Vietnam?
Here’s my question to you: How optimistic are you about success in Afghanistan?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Joe from Chatham, Virginia writes:
I recently read that a Taliban leader said Afghanistan was their home and they will be there long after we have given up and gone home. Nation-building there will be hard. They have few resources upon which to build a stable government and the area has always been and still is governed by tribal fiefdoms. A strong central government is an alien concept. Also, this region has historically been the graveyard of empires. I don't understand how we can be an exception.
This had better be good because this is exactly what I did NOT vote for last November. Otherwise I would have asked McCain to finish the job.
Amiri from New York writes:
Jack, It depends. If my people in Afghanistan get help to rise up from the poverty and have a loaf of bread for their families, of course everyone will succeed in Afghanistan, including the international community. It is the Afghan people who are suffering from poverty and have nothing else but to join the insurgent groups for earning a piece of bread.
I could be optimistic, if I only knew what success would be, and how to recognize it.
Rob from North Carolina writes:
There is no optimism. There is no way to "win". The Russians figured this out after about 10 years of trying to "fix" this country. We need to get out of all the countries we are in and attempt to "fix" our own problems.
Hey Jack, You aren't the 1st one to compare a recent war to Vietnam. I think you and your friends were already using that reference when I was standing in the Iraqi desert in late 2003. The difference is that no one really cared about Afghanistan back then. Let's finish the job and bring our troops home... not tomorrow, not ten years from now, give the plan a chance. Something tells me you people won't be happy with any proposal... go put on a uniform.
As a Vietnam veteran, why do I get that old feeling?