October 5th, 2009
07:02 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Battle for Afghanistan – What's Next?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/05/afghanistan.debate/art.troops.afp.gi.jpg caption= "President Obama says the question of resources will come after his team nails down the best Afghan strategy."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

What's should America's strategy be in Afghanistan? That's what Pres. Obama will likely be asking congressional leaders from both parties tomorrow at the White House. We’re tackling the question tonight on 360°.

There appears to be different views on the war from various insiders. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is pushing for more troops. Otherwise, McChrystal warns the mission could fail.

"We need to reverse the current trends, and time does matter. Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome," McChrystal said last week in a speech in London.

McChrystal would like Pres. Obama to quickly add 40,000 troops to the current level of 68,000. Sen. John McCain and several other Republicans on Capitol Hill support that approach.

But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates appeared to push back today against those calling for a rapid increase in troop levels.

"It is important, that we take our time to do all we can to get this right. And in this process it is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations, civilians and military alike provide our best advice to the President candidly but privately," Gates said today at the Association of the U.S. Army convention.

"Afghanistan has been on a different and worrisome trajectory with violence levels up some 60 percent from last year I believe the decisions that the President will make for the next stage of the Afghanistan campaign will be among the most important of his presidency," Gates added.

Pres. Obama says he needs time to talk over strategy options with his advisers and decide on the best way to proceed in Afghanistan. He has not yet responded to McChrystal's report on troop levels leading some to call the President indecisive. Critics also have said Pres. Obama is playing politics that put U.S. troops in danger.

But some in Pres. Obama's inner circle, such as Vice President Joe Biden, are making their case for using more special forces with no troop increase. They also want to rely more on unmanned drones to hit war targets.

There is also the message coming from National Security Adviser James Jones.

"I don't foresee the return of the Taliban," the retired General told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. "And I want to be very clear that Afghanistan is not in danger - imminent danger - of failing," Jones added.

All this talk comes as eight American troops and two Afghan security forces were killed over the weekend when militants opened fire on an outpost with rockets, mortars and machine-gun fire. It was the largest number of American casualties by hostile action in one day in Afghanistan in nearly 15 months.

As you can tell, it is a tough situation with many different views. What do you think the U.S strategy should be in Afghanistan? Share your thoughts below.

Join us for this story tonight. Plus, we'll introduce you to a U.S. solider who refused to fight in Iraq and went AWOL. We also have the facts and fears on the new H1N1 vaccine that was given to health care works in two states today. It will be provided nationwide in the weeks ahead.

Join us for these stories and more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Greg

    In response to cindy...ga what ever she may call herself. does she not realize it takes a little consulting to fight a war? Or does it make more sense just to jump balls out and hope for the best. i think we tried that and we havent been doing so well.

    October 6, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  2. Jhel Villaruel

    Just to add one more thing...despite of the US effort to build peace at the end so many are jealous to the United States specially in the region where I came from. Please do not waste your money to these people....they are not worthy!

    October 6, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  3. Tina

    I think that sending more troops to make sure that Bin Laden and al Qaeda, the people largely behind the 9/11 attacks, are captured and brought to justice is the only choice Pres. Obama has, but a change of strategy is very much needed. As long as this is a war against al Qaeda, then it should be an all out war, not a maybe-search-and-destroy-al Qaeda-as-well-as-help-the-Afghans kind of confusing war.
    Helping the Afghans should be dealt with later, after the mission has been accomplished and the war is over.

    October 6, 2009 at 7:40 am |
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