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. Linda Rowan

    Sorry, as you can tell I'm not a pc person, I just wanted to say Thank You to Cpt, Teddy Ramos & all our troops who are just doing what their government has ordered them to do, even though it seems our government treats our enemies better than our troops, God Bless & i hope somebody in Washington wakes up, before we have no more Country to believe in

    October 6, 2009 at 6:00 am |
  2. Linda Rowan

    I found Defense Secretary Gates comments that more troops sholud have been sent to Afghanistan before now very offensive because in 2 months he'll have been Secretary of Defense for 2 years, Why in almost 2 years hasn't he gotten our troops more help? It seems like whatever any of these people say before they get to Washington they promptly forget once they are set for life in the inner circle, I was hoping that the person who replaced Dummy Rumsfield whould be smarter.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:50 am |
  3. Linda Rowan

    I find it ironic that Defense Secretary Gates said on Cnn yesterday that we should have sent more troops to Afghanistan before now,Gates has been the Defense

    October 6, 2009 at 5:38 am |
  4. Earle Waine

    This whole country has lost its mojo.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:18 am |
  5. Steve Clemens

    It would appear that there are those within the military industrial complex that fervently favor escalating U.S. participation and troop strength in Iraq, Afghanistan, and possibly Iran. Could this be in the interests of special interest's pork barrel war profiteering through lucrative Department of Defense contracts and lucrative Iraq oilfield contracts? If not, what is it, exactly, that we hope to gain in Iraq? Or Afghanistan? The same thing we gained from our ten year war in Viet Nam?

    October 6, 2009 at 3:15 am |
  6. sam lewis

    if you think that sending more troops to afghanistan is the key to solving the problem over there, you need to smack yourself! come on be for real, you are dealing with people who strap bombs to themselves befor they would even consider talking to any form of government officials. they are not interested in money, or power, they just want the usa to be wiped off the map. their hatred for us is so concentrated that suicide bombing to them is an honorable way to die! and you think having a bunch of soldiers with guns is going to make a difference, no, no, it only makes things worse.

    October 6, 2009 at 2:35 am |
  7. Ron

    I think that when are troops are fired upon there should be air support.
    We would need less troops and save more soldiers lives.

    October 6, 2009 at 2:27 am |
  8. paul micallef

    send the troops

    October 6, 2009 at 2:25 am |
  9. heather

    i think he needs to rethink things and just get them out of there. cause it is just killing more of our men. and they are the ones who shouldnt be dieing

    October 6, 2009 at 1:58 am |
  10. heather

    hey i dont think the president is doing anything like he said he would. my husband is overseas fighting and very close to where it all happen . it was his same unit. and it could of been my husband. my heart goes out to the ones family it did happen to . it all shouldnt of happen in the first place. i really dont think it is doing any good with our soldiers being over there. we are just losing them. they need to be home. but they should send more to help them . but it is not doing anything. i think he is making things worst then they been. please pray our husband and soldiers come home safe.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:56 am |
  11. carlos

    What..cpt teddy ramos god bless us all you is a murder you bastard.Why you is not over ther fighting what you is a coward you dont want to die.God will naver bless you.I hope you burn in hell.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:45 am |
  12. jrqqq

    The United States of America is NOT getting my son.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:43 am |
  13. Janine from PA.

    If we know where many of these insurgents are, can we just continually bomb that area? Unfortunnately the insurgents hide among the local people so they will be killed too, but whatever it takes to shorten this mess we are in should be done. And we need to find ways to help the Afghan people start rebuilding their home land without it costing us huge amounts of money.
    Why didn't we Americans have war fatigue before the war started? We will never get decent health reform, improve schools, create jobs and the rest if this war keeps sucking us dry.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:43 am |
  14. Ann

    My daughter is over there with prt nuristan and we are out of our minds with worry. it's a little late in the game to be leaving our troops over there without enough help to do the job.It's hard to sit here while we wait for obama to make a decision.We need to either send in the troops and do the job right or bring them all home.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  15. Greg M

    Could not the administration have better spent money on the "failed" Olympic trip to Copenhagen on a few B52's or B2's flying over Afghanistan to support our troops?


    October 6, 2009 at 1:32 am |
  16. sue a peters- Navy daughter

    We need more troops on the ground now!! Actually yesterday. The troops need to be there for the troops and for then the enemy. This is a no brainer especially when it comes from our leading generals and commanders. This is not a Game! We must win this war ..... and then bring are men and women now!!!

    October 6, 2009 at 1:26 am |
  17. nea

    I agree with B. Thomas People is so quick to criticize President Obama give him time i can gurantee you things will get better with much PRAYER and less negativity. We can talk about what this President is doing or isnt doing until we turn blue but talk is not going to change anything BUT PRAYER WILL because GOD knows what this President is capable of doing thats why i believe he was elected.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  18. george mcdaniel

    The Afghans have never been conquered. And geurilla wars are similarly nearly impossible to win because the "outsider" eventually transitions into the role of the oppressor in the view of the local populace.
    Despite Afghanistan's potential strategic significance both figuratively and literally, it is not worth another single American Life.
    I am an Obama Supporter and will remain so. But, after serving 2 tours in Vietnam, I have seen enough Americans come home in body bags- no more.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  19. Jhel Villaruel

    I strongly believe that USA had given enough to make things better for this areas, Spending billions of tax payers money for these countries which very sad to say " arent cooperating well"..I think its about time USA leave this troubled countries alone and solve their own war. it made sense before but now it becomes unworthy for this places to receive any assistance from the US... USA your just too good and are being abused.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  20. melanie

    my husband and son are there,i what them to come back ,please send more troops so they can stay alive, if we leave the talabin will take the country over and will be a biger theat to us and thats how many soldiors feel

    October 6, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  21. Rex Rickard, Titonka, Iowa USA

    The only ones who can win the battle in Afghanistan are the WOMEN. They need to stand-up for their rights, we can't do it for them.

    If that fails, then the most obvious answer is to nuke the area near Pakistan where the Taliban hide in the mountains and valleys (we have the precedent with Hamburg, Germany and the two cities in Japan).
    Since Russia also suffered huge losses of gallent young men there it seems only proper to divide the nation into sections: Russian-controlled in the north; Iranian to the west and Pakistani to the east...and the US gets out.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:15 am |
  22. Chris

    Our men and women of the military have been fighting a long hard battle along side joing forces. It's time to do what it takes to get the job done, and bring out troops home to their families. The longer the debate, the longer they are exsposed to the danger of warare.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:10 am |
  23. Rick Fowler

    Anyone within five miles of Bin Laden is NOT an innocent civilian.

    October 6, 2009 at 1:09 am |
  24. megan

    If we pull out of agfhanistan, we will be in more danger here. They will take that as a sign of weakness and hit us where it hurts, and fast. Send in more troops and help the ones that are keeping us at home safe!

    October 6, 2009 at 12:46 am |
  25. Michael Glatz

    Generals take orders from the Commander in Chief and should keep their opinions private or route them to the President via their Chain of Command. The President with the counsel of his Secreaty of State and Secretary of Defense then make the required decisions. The General is given his orders, then salutes and proceeds like any other soldier. Image if every soldier was interviewed about strategy and their opnions.....We would be forced to go surrender!

    October 6, 2009 at 12:21 am |
  26. Arlene Price

    We love our troops. Bring them home now! The war in Afghanistan and in Iraq have made us less secure, not more secure. We need to fight terrorists with intelligence and police work, not by invading and occupying foreign countries. No more Viet Nams!!!

    October 5, 2009 at 11:44 pm |
  27. Rick

    As a Vietnam Veteran, I would like to understand not only our strategy, but also our tactics in Afganistan. I saw a report on CNN where they showed a base from a mountain top. I could have shot anyone walking around down in the base. Haven't we learned over the years to hold the high ground? Wasn't this latest horrific attack against a remote outpost in a valley? Also, why are they sticking our kids so far out in the boonies that it is impossible to keep them safe? Is the military attempting, like they sometimes did in Nam, to use the troops as bait so they can punish the enemy from the air? Is this a heartless political tactic to show how we need more troops?

    October 5, 2009 at 11:37 pm |
  28. Paula

    We had better do something and do it now. We either send more troops or get out. It's so bad that our boys are dying because we don't have a stategy. I know we could do what is necessary to win this war, but our country is so afraid that we will be looked upon as being the bad guy. I just pray for the families who have lost their loved one in action due to our reluctance to go in there and get the job done.

    October 5, 2009 at 11:37 pm |
  29. lucina

    QUIT trying to take over the Country and do something constructive for the UNITED STATES of AMERICA!!!

    October 5, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  30. Diane Dubrule

    As a US citizen living in Canada, I am very concerned that everyone in the US seems to view Afganistan as a US mission. Afganistan is a NATO mission! Canada has been doing nation-building there for many months now. NATO partners must be brought in, not left out!

    October 5, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  31. masoud

    Pakistan is the problem , no matter how much troops will be sent to Afghanistan it wont help , you got to take care Pakistan. they get a lots of money , it is a nuclear threat and safe haven for Al-Qaieda .

    October 5, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  32. derwin

    mr president, take as much time needed before you send more troops in a land of no end to violence. All these generals want to do is spend more money we don't have and waste lives. secure our borders and let those heathens live in those mountains!!! as long as they don't attempt to come to the home front, fight smart, infiltrate them with the cia and stop pressuring our president to act like Bush and rush into more chaos!

    October 5, 2009 at 11:13 pm |
  33. Lauren in Florida

    It's common sense that more men means fewer deaths for Americans and Afghanistans. We must finish this fight, as hard as it will be, and we need more troops to do it. It is selfish and horribly irresonponsible to abandon Afghanistan to chaos and violed. If we invaded Afghanistan, we bear responsibility for establishing peace and saftey for civilians, which will give them enough breathing time to think about democracy. After WWII, we poured in resources and aid through the Marshall Plan, which led to peace, prosperity, and democracy in Europe. It's obvious that half-war and leaving countries in chaos leads to bloodshed and pain for everyone.

    October 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  34. Ashley

    i think that the war should be stop. theres no reason to continue this fight. if we were going to win the war then we would of been really close to it by now. theres no reason for our troops to continue to die for their country, when their really not getting anywhere. but thats just my point of view.

    October 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  35. jed

    If afghanistan falls so goes pakistan. Stay the course, increase troops, and push like heck to have a legitimate and effective afghan military

    October 5, 2009 at 11:10 pm |
  36. simon

    Two choices, add more troops to support the forces that are there or pull them back to a more defenceable position.
    Every moment that goes by soldiers die!

    October 5, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  37. Cecil

    President Obama please make a non-political decision and depend on the advice of those with experience and knowledge of the situation.

    October 5, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  38. cassandra


    October 5, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  39. bedouin

    Afghanistan is such a remote and rugged country. Can the U.S. afford or has the resources to bring this country into the 21st century? At what costs?

    If Al Qaida is the fear, they can plan/train in other African countries.
    I say get out of Afghanistan, Help the poverty conditions. Stop the killing of our soldiers. Our country is having war fatigue.

    October 5, 2009 at 10:56 pm |
  40. Cpt. Teddy Ramos

    what ever it is we must be reminded that taliban/Al-Quida were the orignal menace for America. They already invaded our country and the 911 already sealed that war contract.
    We should go in and finish the job now – like what the doctrine says – overwhelm and crash the enemy and we'll talk later here at home. We cannot afford to think and watch those dead soldiers piling up. We can prevent more casualties by ending this now while we still have the luxury of doing it. God Bless Us All.

    October 5, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  41. Jose

    It is my view that there is no need for the deployment of additional U.S.troops in Afghanistan judging from the superior firepower and military logistics of our troops and that of NATO. What is needed to win the war is to strenghten the Afghan government and for the Afghan government to let its people understand that we are there purposely to restore freedom and peace against the Taliban's oppressive rule and its vestiges that will eventually pave the way to the Afghan's prosperity. That this war is not a war against the Muslims and as proof we even save the Muslims in Bosnia from the hands of some wayward Orthodox. This is important because the Talibans are trying to rekindle the Holy War which they won against the Russians who previously occupied Afghanistan and the mother of all the Holy Wars wherein the Muslims were able to defeat the Crusade, the Christian military expeditions in the 11th-13th century who were about to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims.

    October 5, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  42. Amy Roberts

    Question for Dr. Oz.
    My 7yr old daughter has the opportunity to get the H1N1 shot at school. She as asthma and has a severe nut allergy-which to me puts her at a higher risk for complications if she gets the virus. I sent in the permission paper to allow her to get the shot however, now there seems to be controversy as to whether or not the shot is safe. Is the nasal spray safer than the shot?
    Thanks for your response,

    Amy Roberts
    Colerain, Ohio

    October 5, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  43. J Lyons

    Too much American blood and resources have gone into this prolonged effort. What is really the end game? This is so similar to Vietnam right down to the fact that Johnson wanted his "Great Society" and Obama wants healthcare for all. Lets look back and learn. Would anyone redo Vietnam? Let us get military troops out and stop occupying their country.

    October 5, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  44. Calvin

    There is no efficient way to fight off guerrilla attacks. Remember Vietnam? We bombed the Ho Chi Minh trail to stop the supplies as much as we can, but that didn't stop it. Lesson learned? We might outnumber the Taliban 10 to 1, but if we don't deal efficiently with guerrilla style warfare, we will not be able to win. We must employ a moderate form of tactics, but in order to, we must focus our attention in Afghanistan and fight a full-scale conflict, not only maintaining a small-scale conflict. As long as we do that, I believe that we can win. I don't believe that using drones will work for long, especially after the incident where 100 civilians were killed. Not only that, but we must train all the Afghan forces into an efficient, self-sufficient military.

    October 5, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  45. alex lyrics

    We need to ask congress to demand an exit strategy

    October 5, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  46. Bernadette Thomas

    Isn't it funny that if our President wants to take a little extra time to make a sound decision/plan and some view that as "stalling". As a former soldier, I don't want anyone of that kind of authority to rush to do anything. A good plan is a sound plan, a successful plan. A rushed plan is for fools and failure. How do we expect this President to take over a 8 year hot mess and clean it up pronto? it's just ridiculous. I have never been President of the US and nor do I want to be , especially if people expect you to be some kind of miracle worker. Seriously some people's expectations of this President are sophomoric. War sucks and its never goes the way you want. If you want to do something useful...pray to the Lord to save our troops from harm. Pray to the Lord to help the powers that be formulate a successful plan to quickly end the war and bring our soldiers home in a timely manner. Prayer changes everything. Constant verbal attacks on our President changes nothing. really its just hot air being tossed around. Remember other countries like to see us unravel and look weak.

    October 5, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  47. Michelle R.

    Well I'm sure he does care but frankly he should have a clear cut plan in place before sending off 40,000 more troops. I do agree that time is of the essence and he may want to heed the advice of those who are actually there running the show. Still, I feel that the decision making really shouldn't be taking place in such a public forum.

    October 5, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  48. Annie Kate

    I thought the approach of securing some of the larger areas and helping the Afghans rebuild their infrastructure and get life more stable for them was a good approach and would be the one I would prefer. I believe that more troops were needed for this as well but in the end it would leave Afghanistan more secure and more able to stand on its own feet. And hopefully from all this we would have another ally in the area.

    October 5, 2009 at 8:38 pm |
  49. 88Angel

    What ever Obama plans on doing he better get his butt in gear! Every day that he holds off more and more of our troops are being killed! The man can't make one clear cut decision with out asking every body and his brother and then some. Can't he make his own decisions? The longer he waits the worse it seems to be getting over there. Can he not see that!? Does he care?


    October 5, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  50. Michelle

    Sadly, 7 years ago America dropped the ball in Afghanistan and
    went to Iraq. The Taliban has used this time to regroup and it will
    be tough to come up with a winning plan because the opioum
    trade is alive and a source of money.

    October 5, 2009 at 8:25 pm |
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