December 2nd, 2009
09:04 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Selling the New War Plan

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Pres. Obama's inner circle is on the offensive trying to get Congress and the American people on board with the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

The commander-in-chief revealed last night in a speech at West Point that he's ordering an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan over the next six months. He also wants to start bringing home U.S. forces in July 2011, just a year-and-a-half from now.

Most Republicans are backing the plan, but several Democrats are questioning Pres. Obama's decision.

The new strategy was debated on Capitol Hill today when Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with two key committees.

A key exchange between Secretary Clinton and Rep. Gary Ackerman, (D) New York, gives a good sense of the emotions at play.

"I'm trying to think this thing through. I think the best I come up with is that we have a shack that is on fire, but it is located next to the dynamite factory and the question that I think I know the answer to but my constituents keep asking - Is it worth risking the lives of those who respond to the fire in a place that may or may not hold a lot of value in and of itself? And what is going to be the result and what would happen if we don't respond?"

"I guess the question I will ask is this, as of 8 o'clock last night do we have a new war or do we have an old war under new ownership," Ackerman added.

Secretary Clinton responded to the questions.

"I think it is fair to say that if the president could have concluded that this was an old war that could be wound down and walked away from, that would certainly have been an easier choice. He is, as we all are, well aware of the political and economic and the loss of young men and women that this decision presages, but the dynamite factory is there and unfortunately it's been stocked with even more dynamite in last couple years and therefore we feel we have to address it," she said.

Meanwhile, General Stanley McChrystal, who requested the extra troops, briefed U.S. forces in Afghanistan on the new war strategy.

"If you think about where we are now, even though it's eight years, this is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. I think it is the end of the beginning. I think everything changes right now," he said as he channeled the words of Sir Winston Churchill during World War Two.

Tonight on 360°, you'll hear from the Gen. McChrystal's boss, Gen. David Petraeus – who is the chief of U.S. Central Command.  We've also gathered our team of reporters who've been to Afghanistan to dive into whether the war plan makes sense.

Join us for this story and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Merle

    In the past few days 4 police officers were shot and killed, a two year boy fell into an open septic and died, more troops are being deployed to Afghanistan and the news media keeps covering Tiger Woods. Let it go! There are more important things happening in America. News should not be another reality show. I don't want lawyers, analysts and former cops explaining why things happen, I can do that for myself. I simply want the news without someone's opinion or interpretation. If someone has a show describing themselves as victim's advocate why are they talking about Tiger Woods. This type of shoddy tabloid reporting isn't helpful, get real, people!

    December 3, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  2. ronvan

    We need to get over talking about 1 word. "WIN" We are NOT going to win this one! And it is not about our military! This war/conflict has to many political aspects to it for our brave & magnificent military to suceed, which they could do easily! So now we have what, 18 months, and then our military will come home? Sorry, Mr. President, but I am not going to hold my breath on that one, but will hope & pray that it does.

    December 3, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  3. Tim Gibson

    If there is in fact more dynamite it has a US government stamp on it and is the result of our involvement in the political affairs of others when it becomes more and more clear, not only to the American people, but to the world, that our own political agenda is flawed and corrupt and sits in the wasteland of the broken junkyard.

    Far to many have been kicekd under the Obama bus, even while avoiding those most dangerous to our society and economy who should have been kicked there, for anyone else to climb on board.

    Welcome of Jonestown.

    December 3, 2009 at 8:34 am |
  4. rick ellis

    Love your show unlike some of the other newworks that have a hidden againda either Rep. or dem. tour show tells it like it is.
    But can you tell me why our Gov. does not tell how many insurgents are being killed i'ts only fair if they are going to report on how many u.s
    soigers are killed why in the world do we not report on the number of terriosts killed. Are we afraid of other countrys opions.

    December 3, 2009 at 6:09 am |
  5. Harold Anderson

    I've listened to all of your analysts and President Obama's speech on the war in Afghanistan, but there is one thing that is not clear to me.
    President Obama made it very clear that this new offensive would involve a collaborative effort by US/Afghanistan forces on the West through Afghanistan and Pakistan forces from the East to the Pakistan border with Afghanistan.
    Isn't this in effect the same strategy used in WWII to defeat German occupation of Europe in WWII? A two front pincer movement? Against Japan, it was not only the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also the threat of Russian invasion from the north that brought WWII to a close?
    If there is a coalition of US/Afghanistan and Pakistan forces from the West and East in a pincer movement, why wouldn't this pincer movement suceed in elimininating the opposition in as little time as 18 months. It has worked before? Why don't your analysts investigate this?

    December 3, 2009 at 3:43 am |
  6. Phil M

    "Nation-building" is a misnomer for Obama's decision to send additional troops to Afganistan. If any country needs to "rebuild" its culture based on human rights instead of Taliban corruption and an Al-Qaeda haven, Afganistan is it. We have clearly told the leaders of this war-torn country that we're coming to help them gain control, but the clock is ticking. The time for them to step up as our allies is NOW. And only time will tell if Obama's decision was the right one.

    December 3, 2009 at 1:49 am |
  7. M Kelly

    Who is going to protect America if we are attacked and all our troops are in other countries? Who is paying for all of this? We will be bankrupted, if we aren't already...

    December 3, 2009 at 1:48 am |
  8. Joan

    With over 113,000 troops (US and other NATO forces) and only 3,000 of these being Canadian troops, I resent that the Canadian troops are referred to as "token" according to AC's guest tonite. Why are the Canadian troops assigned to defending Kandahar with little support from the other 110,000 troops, especially considering that Kandahar is the most difficult territory? Please don't call our Canadian effort "token". It is insulting.

    Vancouver, BC

    December 3, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  9. kenny c

    I voted for Obama but not for this reason. I know a lot of lives were lost when the terrorist bombed the world trade centers, but count the lives that were lost versus the lives lost in both of these wars. It doesn't add up. My last week of basic training 9/11 occured, it was devastating, their was people in my flight that had family members that died. But when you think about all the soldiers lost, all the babies being bombed, innocent people killed. There is alot people paying the price for something a small group of people did. I think we should pull out of this war asap.

    December 3, 2009 at 1:36 am |
  10. Dario van der Lündin

    Is Afghanistan "The Neverending story" movie or "Charlie Wilson's War", the answer is behind the Afghan people and we should ask them first before innocent people died again on both sites. Do they truly want to be free and be westernized or continue their lifestyle?. Remember the French Revolution.
    Dario van der Lündin
    Paris, France

    December 2, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  11. pat

    I'm not in favor of sending any more troops to Afganistan to fight the Taliban... what happens if they (the Taliban) decide to relocate their bases to Iran or Saudi Arabia? Do we just hop from country to country chasing after them, losing more American lives along the way? I voted for Obama because I thought he was going to bring our troops home... not send more into harms way....

    December 2, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  12. Matt

    Our Generals who know and understand what it takes to win this war on terror, actually asked for 40,000 to 60,000 troops to complete the mission. Although I would prefer to bring troops home, it could be very costly to the security of this great country. However, if sending additional troops into Afghanistan will restore some fundamentals for the Afghan people, aid in prevention of terror, and maintain the United States strong defense and dedication to our goal, then lets do it right. Send in appropriate amount of troops, remove media, journalists and any others judging our methods of winning this war and let soldiers be soldiers. They will triumph, because thats what they are trained to do.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  13. Ademola

    I believe setting a deadline is a good thing. This thing is multi faceted; yes it's in part about politics at home, but most importantly it would allow our troops to do their job of training the police and army since the Talibans would be waiting us out and not come out to limit their casualties.

    December 2, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  14. Annie Kate

    I hope that we aren't just sacrificing more of our military men and women for a goal that in the end may mean nothing and will certainly not last long. And, of course we will be poorer for it – in people and in dollars. Can this administration do anything without sinking us deeper in debt? Our debt load and its interest is going to put a stranglehold on us and what we need to do and it will choke us to death.....or our children.

    On the campaign trail Obama said he would bring the troops home in 18 months; now he is shifting them to Afghanistan and putting another 18 months out there as the pull-out time – how can we trust that he will stay with that date when he didn't with the first he promised?

    December 2, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  15. Isabel Siaba (Brazil)

    Hi Maureen! How are you?

    I don't know the plan in depth, but 18 months seems to me so little time for a safe withdrawal, after so many years of war.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  16. @guilhermeUS

    Peace is the source of hope for thousands of families

    December 2, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
  17. LoveAt350.com

    There HAS to be some way for there to be peace on this tiny planet.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:20 pm |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.