With the release of General McChrystal’s report, asking for 50,000 more pairs of boots in Afghanistan, the somewhat forgotten, back-burnered war has come back to the front pages. However, it seems that the American people disagree with McChrystal: a recent USA Today/Gallup poll reported that about half of Americans (give or take 4%) oppose a troop surge in Afghanistan. This comes as a dramatic shift in opinion, as almost 65% of Americans supported upping our numbers in the country earlier this year. As a campaign promise made by both Senator McCain and President Obama in the 2008 election, I absolutely expected a rise in troops and support of such a move. Although I’m certain every American would be positively ecstatic to wash his or her hands of continued conflict in the Middle East (are we there yet?)something has to be done to “fix” the Afghan problem, at least for now. Unfortunately, the long-awaited elections did not go as smoothly as planned (or hoped), leaving increased stability and an independently functioning democracy in the dust for the time being.
It seems the best option, and what is proposed in amalgam by Republicans and Democrats alike, is a surge en masse: troops, aid, you name it. If it is well planned (the eternal problem) with a concrete vision (another obvious barrier to success in any operation and one emphasized by Senator John Kerry – something I actually agree with the man on), such an all-encompassing surge could work (and should work). If all components of the surge are sent in and a concrete expectation and plan are set, significant change will hopefully be in sight.