December 1st, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 12/01/09

Tonight on 360°, Pres. Obama's decision on Afghanistan. He's adding an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to the region and wants to start getting all American forces back home in July 2011. We've got the raw politics and the raw numbers. We'll talk about the new strategy with an impressive panel of experts. And we want to hear from you.

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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (347 Responses)
  1. Rob

    If we would go in and win this war that would be one thing. However, the US is way to nice and does not know how to fight a war. Why have we spent billions and billions on our Navy, Air Force and weapons to just fight with all these dumb engagement rules?

    Since Viet Nam we are wimps. Forget about the engagement rules, lets win this in months not years!

    Lets stand up and be the Superpower we are and not the Superwimps the world see's us!

    I am against any more troops, pull out of this war now and take care of our Nation!!!!!!!!!

    December 1, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  2. James in Cazenovia, NY

    Enough talk President Obama; give the war in Afghanistan back to the war-lords and tribal chiefs, get our troops out of there – and put them to work securing and re-building our towns and cities.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  3. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Tonight President Obama voted 'present' again. This is a half measure. As David Gergen said, we need to be 'all in' and win, or get out. This strategy does neither.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  4. jorge Arevalo

    again i think us should not get into other countries life, when are you going to learn that your kids will not go into wars if your president not get into other countries.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  5. David, Indiana

    @Isabel, I agree if the country's govt can give the population security, progress will advance

    @Lynne you have a pt about analyis of viewers this is moving incredibly rapidly.

    @Mike, President Obama was inaugurated in January, the situation in Afghanistan began running into problems under President Bush.

    Sound like standing up the afghan sec forces and police will be hard to do.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  6. Omar

    Another thing that the President did say that i believe that would not be reasonably possible is the return of the troops 18 months after the 30,000 troop arrive in country. If after years we haven't accomplish the complete exit of the Taliban; How is 18 months and 30,000 more troops going to make a difference?

    December 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  7. Marc

    Billions of dollars chasing an organization,-not a country – does Obama believe the miliatry will get ride of the terrorist completely or will they simply move off to other parts of the world? Does Obama not get that??

    December 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  8. Ted

    Obama's message tonight should have been our original approach in 2001. It is the right approach now. Eliminate the Taliban! Get Bin Laden! Had it been, the correct regional message would have been sent: attack us, and you will pay for it. His targeted approach reminds me of GH Bush's approach in the Gulf War. Focused. Targeted. Iraq in 2002 was not necessary. Iraq was covered with an ominous no fly zones, inspectors, satellites, the memory of the Kuwait and “the hwy of death.”

    December 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  9. Drew

    This is about money. It always has been and always will be. Money is why we fight. I wish it were about revenge or "protection" – at least those are honest ambitions. Money is the thing that whispers in the ears of powerful people.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  10. Ryan

    Completely agree with Denis Kuchinic's points. The US economy has just rebounded from one of the greatest downturns since the great depression and Congress is most likely going to approve the move for more troops. Without the proper focus on National Development the US will inevitably deteriorate internally.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  11. George

    I get a funny feeling from that speech.
    And it aint a good feeling either!

    December 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  12. Matt

    What is the endgame? Tell me the perfect ending if we could script it? I see none. Get out now.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  13. Sally

    I initially was not in favor of adding more troops, but after president Obama's speech I now have a great understanding on the urgency needed to give a final fight to bring stability to the Afghanistan nation and restore power to their elected officials and people. The deadline for July 2011 will reinvigorate troop morale, for soldiers that are now on several deployments. I believe his final decision covers the majority of conflicts from both parties, with the addition of troops to a foreseeable deadline for the end of both wars.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  14. Peter

    9/11/09 we knew it began in Afghanistan, we went to Iraq. Everyone kept saying why Iraq if it began in Afghanistan. Now we have the President going into the place we should have gone to in the 1st place and now it is the wrong decision. True a withdrawal should have kept top secret but we are going where we should have gone. I am with him all the way.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  15. Mary

    Good Evening,
    I am disappointed that circumstances in the middle east do not allow us to leave Afghanistan now. I am willing to trust our President as I believes he deliberated sufficiently to come to a wise decision. I wish we citizens were asked to tangibly contribute to our country's effort and thus feel united.with those that are giving their lives to protect us.
    It is offensive to equate the President's intention to hold out an exit strategy of July, 2011 as a "political decision." It is a negotiating lever.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  16. Earl James

    Given Michael Ware's comments, are 30000 more troops nearly enough either to win or to adequately pressure Al-Quaeda?

    December 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  17. Linda Mersch

    I support President Obama's decision to send additional troops. I think we are lucky to have such a competent leader. I'm sure it was a tough decision to make. He has been in office less than 1 year and is doing an awesome job. I can't say anything positive about the past administration.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  18. Kyle

    We don't need an exit strategy, we need to stay till the job gets done. people who joined the service kno what they may eventually need to do and that's fight a war. people in the service shouldn't be speeking for the ones that are.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  19. Mike - NC

    I would like to know what this decision will mean for the american economy and how will we pay for it.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  20. Steve from Dallas

    Please ask any of your esteem guess to suggest a plan to win or exit the war. I don't need a paraphrase of what the President said. I am all ears. Thanks.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  21. Clif

    Please listen to Dennis Kucinich. What nice reason he has. Just get us out, and let us focus on the US. Build out selves, get strong, smart, help one another, and stop building a war machine.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  22. Mark Eaton - Boston, MA

    I can"t wait until the Congress weighs in on Obamas plan. If it ever had a chance to succeed, his own party with snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and give it a chance.... What a waste.....

    December 1, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  23. talum

    the us is going 2 train all them Afghans and then they going right back in the Taliban as better fighters

    December 1, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  24. Isabel Siaba (Brazil)

    @David, Indiana

    I can't see that vulnerability of the Taliban, but I would like.
    I unfortunately can't see the Afghan government doing front this because of the questionable legitimacy of the elections.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  25. Cecil

    It's too bad that the United Nations organization won't help with global threats like terrorism. The U N could be such a wonderful force for world peace by taking the lead in policing those that use terror to bring harm to others.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  26. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    @Bob Morgan, our goal shouldn't be a date, it should be victory.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  27. Mitaly

    The president is not some kind of God, he isn't going to save the world. Why don't poeple concentrate on helping to come up with a solution, instead of criticizing every aspect of the president's speech? He almost pleated for unity.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  28. Tom Kenny

    Holding the Afghan leaders feet to the fire with a time-line will force them to action; if only for their own survival. Leaving an immediate vacuum by removal of troops will insure a Taliban revival. The Presidents plan is a balanced approach that can work, The huge divide in this Country is the only thing that will bring us failure.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  29. Heather

    I disagree with your panel tonight. I thought the speech was good tonight, maybe it didn't change minds but to me, it's less about getting people on board with the war in Afghanistan and more about cleaning up the mess that's over there. Do what is possible and then get out.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  30. Ward Edmonds

    I do not understand why we constantly talk about "corruption" when we're really talking about drugs/opium. Afghanistan now produces 80% of the world's opium supply, yet we could buy it all for less than $5B per year while making the suppliers beholden to the USA.
    Call it the Afghanistan Farm Subsidy Program; a program that would go a long way towards removing support for Al Qaeda (the real goal, is it not?), and a program that could easily justified for a very long term.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  31. Tom McGorty

    I'm curious. Out of the 30,000 proposed troop increase, how many will be actual combat troops versus support troops. A surge doesn't sound like much if you count all the additional medical, supply and other support troops that will be needed. So in reality, how many actual combat troops will there be? Will there be 30,000 plus support personnel or will the support people be included in the 30,000?

    December 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  32. Larry

    It would have been nice to see the president as a commander-in-chief and not continue his years-long political campaigning. He just could not resist bring up the Bush years, the state of the economy that he inherited, etc. Even his hand-shaking exit smacked of campaigning. We need a leader that takes a stand, not one who tries to please everyone. Is he truly committed to our fight in Afghanistan? It really is hard to tell.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  33. Eric, Silver Spring, MD

    As both a life-long die-hard Democrat and a military retiree I thought the President's speech was pretty good. There, caveats out of the way. The only thing that I disagreed with, and it pains me because I am in complete agreement with the Republican position, is he should not have set an 18 month deadline. I whole-heartedly agree that we need to be there and we must send additional troops. Give the Afghan people the opportunity to build their own security forces, determine the type of government they want, and then let them lie in the bed they make.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  34. Debra

    So far this president is the only president to offer a strategy with exit plan...I am very happy to see him follow lean policies. He looked at all aspects of root cause to set a agenda to solve this war.

    Besides short cuts cost more with a high cost impact to no end....
    equals high loss of life.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  35. Jordan Wamhoff

    Mr. Kucenich is exactly right. Our occupation in the middle east fuels the insurgency, grows Al Qaeda and in the long run makes the U.S. less safe. I voted for bush and then was disgusted with our foreign policy with the iraq war, then I voted for Obama because I wanted the troops to come home. So much for change.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  36. Corey

    Throughout this great debate of an escalation of troops, homeland security and the domestic economy remember one thing...without some sort of complex initiative toward Afghanistan the new debate will be why didn't we act when we had the chance. Remember 911...don't let it happen again!

    December 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  37. Karen, MN


    I would like to see our troops come home. I also agree we could use the money in the USA. We need to take care of our country. What a hard situation to be in. I trust President Obama will do the right thing!

    December 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  38. Chris C

    Also, Freedom is worth fighting for. No doubt about that. President Obama should have focused more on that. I personally believe President Bush was either a strong libertarian or anarcho capitalist. Freedom benefits the entire world. The more I see it President Bush purposely bankrupted our country so government would limit itself. Soon we will see a government that strictly is about freedom. Let people live in peace!

    December 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  39. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    What happens in 2011 when nothing has changed, and the threat is still there? Do we still leave?

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  40. Dominic

    The speech was strategic and well done, There has to be an exit strategy, hope, and power to the people of Afghanistan

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  41. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    So lets say we go in with 30.000 more troops then the Taliban split up and go to Iran and Pakistan and slowly pick us off.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  42. Gar

    Winning isn't really the goal. At least not as far as Afghanistan is concerned. We aren't trying to conquer a country here. Defeating the enemy is the objective. Which is... not the Afghans.

    By putting a withdrawal date on it, two things are possible. The enemy comes out fighting and becomes more vulnerable. Easier to capture or kill.

    Or, they go into hiding and in the meantime we are free to train the Afghans quickly and more effectively with little interruption.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  43. Janet

    Even though there are mixed opinions about announcing an exit, I believe President Obama felt it was important to the American people to know that he wants to end the war and assure that we have limits to our stay in Afghanistan and our war against terrorism.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  44. Doug Preszler

    Cpl. Adams,
    thank you for your service and God bless. It is reassuring to hear that someone who actually had boots on the ground agrees with the plan. I believe now that we are once again focused on the right war we can finish what we started 8 years ago, take out alqueda and bin laden.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  45. Carolyn Ryzewicz

    Tonight I felt as if I was back listening to Johnson escalate Vietnam. My brother had flashbacks to hearing his draft number read. Afghanistan is not ready for a democracy — just ask the war lords. Another 30,000 Americans are not going to change the course of history. Is this really what we should be focusing on right now?

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  46. Michelle

    Thanks for adding the foreign policy team.
    There a no easy or simple solutions to the
    war in Afghanistan.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  47. gail

    I am glad that the President said that we are not going to be there in perpetuity. As for the FDR reverence in regard to this timeline, FDR would not even get into the war until we were attacked. The US kept to herself and did not fight until then. So don't think that our fight in WWII was simply about wanting to do the "noble thing" it was about retaliation.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  48. vanessa

    We as a country need to support Our President, Our Troops and Our Country. There are some tough decisions being made and we don't know all of the details. THe President is not going to give us all the inside information he's only going to give us what we need to know.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  49. Mark L.

    Good note David Gergen,

    Kucinich wants to "Negotiate with the taliban" ??and doesn't know where the money comes from? it's called the defense budget! this guy is so far left, what a complete doofus,Thank God someone like him isn't in power although Obama isn't far behind him.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  50. clayton

    I think the presidents speach was motivating. We as a nation have to realize that the steps we take to sequre our nation is not always pleasing. We are to focused on political matters, essencially people are the driving force in our great nation.

    December 1, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
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