July 16th, 2009
11:34 AM ET

Winning the good war: Why Afghanistan is not Obama's Vietnam

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/23/afghan.war.stories/art.afghan.copter.mountains.cnn.jpg caption="A U.S. soldier flies over Afghanistan aboard a Chinook helicopter in March."]

Peter Bergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN National Security Analyst
For The Washington Monthly

Throughout his campaign last year, President Barack Obama said repeatedly that the real central front of the war against terrorists was on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. And now he is living up to his campaign promise to roll back the Taliban and al-Qaeda with significant resources. By the end of the year there will be some 70,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan, and the Obama administration is pushing for billions of dollars in additional aid to both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This has caused consternation among some in the Democratic Party. In May, fifty-one House Democrats voted against continued funding for the Afghan war. And David Obey, the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which controls federal spending, says the White House must show concrete results in Afghanistan within a year—implying that if it doesn’t do so, he will move to turn off the money spigot. If this is the attitude of Obama’s own party, one can imagine what the Republicans will be saying if his "Af-Pak" strategy doesn’t start yielding results as they gear up for the 2010 midterm elections.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Afghanistan • Pakistan • Peter Bergen • President Barack Obama
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Ruby Coria LA., CA.

    The man "Michael Ware" said we have no choice but to talk with the Taliban, alQaeda, Afghanistan, Pakistan,& don't forget ~India. I know one thing, they don't like us in there Land, period. What are we doing there anyways? I forgot, oh wait the 911 deal, didn't that happen in part because they don't want us in there Land, period. Just talk to them, shake hands, take pictures, & so on..

    July 16, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  2. earle,florida

    One simple question regarding history,and the downfall of the "Roman Empire"? Their armies (Rome) were always fighting perrinnial conflicts throughout the world! Eventually,the massive cost to finance these forces of conquest, collapsed by their own weight,and the corruptness of their societal culture! Sound familiar? America,is on the same path of eternal conquest,and good-will to proliferate democracy throughout the known world,unfortunately our democracy is like an ice-creme shop,with many flavors to choose from,as our founding fathers were very aware of? Shame,shame, on America to behave as the righteous lords of the world's dogma's,and soviregn beliefs!

    July 16, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  3. Joanne Pacicca

    Soviet Turkistan, bordering Afghanistan is land above a sea of oil. Putin knows that will bring the Soviets back to superpower status...of course there is concern, this issue is critical to the balance of power and world peace.

    July 16, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  4. Najma Naizi, Califonia

    Sounds a lot like a ’surge’ doesn’t it? – A constant mantra from the talking points of conservative talk show hows. They fail to mention that
    a surge would not be required if the original process of the Iraq war was properly managed. They refuse to admit the wrong reasons to invade Iraq at a huge cost to the nation.
    Obama is now cleaning the mess in Afganistan that should have been
    addressed before IRAQ!
    I guess we have all learned a lesson not to trust the Republicans, after all they base their foreign relations experince on the view of their
    back window!

    July 16, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  5. Deneshia, in AR

    I agree, No war is good. Malcolm X did once state, "You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it." I think that Obama is going right along with Bush and McCain to be honest. I really can't pinpoint the good things he have done for this country. Hopefully things will get better.

    July 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  6. Mike in NYC

    CNN's voice of Langley speaks.

    July 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  7. Michael C. McHugh

    No war is ever good. They are always evil, but sometimes they are a necessary evil, as this one is. Our enemies are Islamic Nazis who hate us rabidly and cannot be negotiated with, so there is nothing else to do but to continue the war to the finish.

    July 16, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  8. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Sounds a lot like a 'surge' doesn't it? Say, didn't that stabilize Iraq and let us start withdrawing troops? Say, didn't Obama oppose the surge? Say, doesn't he still refuse to admit it worked? I guess he learned the lesson though because he's using McCain's strategy now in Afghanistan.

    July 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  9. meenas17

    Af-Pak strategy is business to most Americans, eh!.Is it not the life and blood that counts?Is it only the money you deploy matters?concrete results should be shown according to the Chairman of the House Appropriations committee. Results in the form of currency or in the garb of peaceful exixtence?Be clear in your format.

    July 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm |