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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

# Posted 8:47 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

OBAMA SPEECH WRAP-UP: The President was crystal clear about why we are sending more troops to Afghanistan. We were attacked on 9/11. If the Taliban take back Afghanistan, Al Qaeda will come back with them. America's security is directly at stake. Right now, we only have enough troops for a stalemate, not for success.

How will our military strategy change in Afghanistan? What will the mission be of our 30,000 additional troops? The President offered a couple of nods to "securing the population", the core concept of counterinsurgency theory. He also mentioned training Afghan forces. But this issue deserves much more detailed discussion, because the deployment of additional troops is the key commitment we are now making.

Finally, the exit strategy. There was a clear date for when it will begin. Must certain conditions be achieved before the exit begins? What will be the indications of success we should monitor? What if the Afghan government does not improve its performance? What if the new Afghan forces take longer to train? Are we committed to success, because our "vital national interests" are at stake? Or will those interests be reconsidered if they aren't met by July 2011? That is the great unknown. Or more precisely, the great unsaid.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly
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