McCain, Graham: Decisive Force Needed in Afghanistan

Monday, 14 Sep 2009 03:45 PM

By David A. Patten

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Three leading U.S. senators are urging President Obama to employ 'decisive force' to win the war in Afghanistan.

A U.S. withdrawal, they warn, could lead to another 9/11-style attack on America.

In an opinion piece written jointly by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and independent Democrat Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, the senators say that defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan "remains a clear, vital national interest of the United States."

During the campaign, Obama pledged to make Afghanistan the central focus of U.S. military efforts to combat global terrorism.

The three senators take strong exception to the growing hubbub advising the president to walk away from plans to mount a military surge to wrest the country the Taliban.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed article published on Monday, they write that an American defeat " would not only be a devastating setback for our nation in what is now the central front in the global war on terror, but would inevitably further destabilize neighboring, nuclear Pakistan."

According to Lieberman, McCain, and Graham, the American people are frustrated because for years the war in Afghanistan was "mismanaged and under resourced." But that doesn't mean the United States should cut its losses and withdrawal, they say.

The three Senate leaders point out that U.S. troops in Afghanistan have a new leader, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whom they term "exceptional." But they say the new commander needs adequate resources for the fight: "However, we need more than the right team and the right strategy. This team must also have the resources it needs to succeed -- including a significant increase in U.S. forces."

Their commentary states: "Mr. Obama was right when he said last year that 'You don't muddle through the central front on terror . . . You don't muddle through stamping out the Taliban.'"

The senators also warn: "The U.S. walked away from Afghanistan once before, following the Soviet collapse. The result was 9/11. We must not make that mistake again."

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