West-Central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton has written President Obama, urging him to listen to his military commander in Afghanistan and give him the resources he needs to win.
In a six-page letter , Congressman Skelton, chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, outlines the case for the importance of the war in Afghanistan and urges President Obama to support General Stanley McChrystal, by giving him the troops and equipment he needs. Skelton states in the letter that McChrystal has the right plan and is the right man for the job.
Is Skelton worried that the president’s resolve in Afghanistan has wavered?
"I hope not," Skelton tells the Missourinet, "I certainly hope not. I do know exactly what he said back in his March speech and I’m taking him at his word for that."
Skelton states in the letter that al Qaeda presents "a serious threat to American national security." He says al Qaeda, sheltered in Afghanistan by the Taliban, must be defeated. He writes that he doesn’t believe America can successfully root out al Qaeda from Pakistan and destroy the organization if it doesn’t succeed in Afghanistan.
Skelton says America must regain its footing in the treacherous terrain of Afghanistan.
"We had the initiative early on, but going into Iraq caused us to short change the efforts in Afghanistan," Skelton says. "Consequently, that initiative has been slowed down."
Skelton counsels for a very tough stance against the Taliban. He points out the Taliban has become experts on exploiting "every ideological and military success and it should not be our policy to allow them even the smallest victory."
A three-prong approach is outlined in the letter. Skelton advocates a counter-terror campaign using pilotless drones and special operations forces to attack al Qaeda leadership. Secondly, he says the United States must speed up the training of Afghan National Security Forces, though he says such a strategy on its own is insufficient. The final approach would be the United States-led counter-insurgency plan devised by General McChrystal. Skelton tells President Obama that plan must be given sufficient resources so that the U.S. and allied military, along with civilian experts, can carry out the strategy Obama announced in March.
"Undertaking a counter-insurgency campaign is complex, and it will require additional resources, both civilian and military, and hopefully not all from the United States," Skelton writes.
Toward the end of the letter, Skelton states, "We know the ends, General McChrystal has a plan, and we should supply him the resources he needs to see if it will work."
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