One of the most powerful defense lawmakers, a Democratic senator, came out clearly today in support of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's request for a significant increase in troops for Afghanistan.
“At this time, I believe General McChrystal’s assessment of the current situation and his conclusions, including his assessment that coalition forces must have more daily contact with the people of Afghanistan, is correct and is what is needed if we are to achieve security and stability in Afghanistan,"said Sen. Daniel Inouye, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its defense subcommittee. “The message I heard most clearly from our officers, our enlisted men and women, and our coalition and Afghan partners was their steadfast belief in the mission in front of them and their faith in the achievable goal of providing security and stability to the people of Afghanistan. It was remarkable to hear from the troops on the ground, both coalition and U.S. troops, that they are fully committed to this mission and want to see its ultimate success. Despite the many challenges they face, the morale of our troops remains high and their fierce dedication to the mission was truly inspiring."
Inouye also clearly bolstered those who push a true counterinsurgency approach in Afghanistan, as opposed to the camp reportedly led by Vice President Biden who want to pursue terrorists using standoff weapons and Special Operations units. And he did it for a very clear reason: “It is my firm belief that if we leave now, the Government of Afghanistan will not survive and the consequences will be detrimental to the region and will ultimately threaten the security of the United States. For these reasons, I will continue to work with President Obama and the military to ensure that our troops on the ground have the resources they need to succeed in their ultimate objective of a secure and stable Afghanistan.”
He laid out a pretty clear vision for how to get there. “This strategic approach will mean altering our military strategy to focus on counterinsurgency, building the capacity and capability of the Afghanistan security forces, working with Pakistan to remove safe havens for militants that threaten not only Pakistan’s stability but also our efforts in Afghanistan, and ensuring that appropriate resources are provided to accomplish this goal," Inouye said. He did not address how many troops should be sent, saying he would "await specific recommendations from the military and the Administration."