Megan Ardovini ’13
30,000: Nearly five times the amount of Bishop McNamara graduates, and starting this past January, the number of U.S. troops President Barack Obama is sending to Afghanistan. Why? President Barack Obama wants to finish the stabilization of the Afghan government once and for all.
“We are in year nine of our time in Afghanistan. We’re not going to be there another eight or nine years,” President Obama said.
He is almost doubling the current U.S. force in Afghanistan of 32,000 to prevent an even longer military presence. On Nov. 25 of last year, President Obama made a speech to an audience of cadets, staff and guests at West Point to announce his plan to put an end to this long struggle. Making the speech at West Point allowed President Obama to announce his plan for the addition of troops to the future officers who would be directly affected by this strategy.
When President Obama took office, there were roughly 34,000 troops on the ground. Now, with the addition of these new troops, there will be close to 68,000. Obama’s plan leaves many wondering, “What are all those troops going to be doing?” Obama has three goals in mind with the deployment of 30,000 U.S. troops: “Foil the Taliban’s effort to take over Afghanistan’s government; strengthen Afghanistan’s government and security forces; avoid letting Afghanistan be a safe haven for al-Qaeda.”
Doubling the amount of troops is necessary for the success of Obama’s strategies. The outcome should include improving lives of Afghans in many areas, securing the border from invasion from Pakistan and holding Afghan government leaders responsible for corruption and problems. By doing these very essential things, President Obama’s hope is to kill two birds with one stone. By making Afghanistan stronger, the Taliban will weaken. These additional troops will allow the U.S. to hand all responsibilities to the Afghan people and the eventual withdraw of our forces beginning in the July of 2011.
President Obama shares, “As Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops…..If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow.”See President Obama’s full speech from November 25th here.