Rep. Gallegly: Our Goal Is And Must Remain Defeating Al Qaeda
U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) issued the following statement on President Obama's Afghanistan strategy.
"Our goal in Afghanistan must be to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban. To do that, President Obama and Congress must give our military men and women every tool available, including an expanded technological presence, to minimize the costs in terms of lives and time and to ensure victory.
"Partial measures and artificial deadlines are not acceptable. While I support the President's decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, I question whether it is enough to achieve our goals with minimal casualties. I hope it is, but I also urge the President to keep an open mind on deploying more troops if necessary and to act quickly to protect our forces already there.
"I also question announcing a July 2011 deadline to begin troop withdrawals. That only tells our enemies to lay low for 18 months to give us a false sense of victory.
"Much of the President's strategy in Afghanistan is based on the stabilization of the country. But stabilizing Afghanistan offers some serious challenges. From Alexander the Great in 326 BCE to the Soviet Union in the 1970s, history has shown time and again that governing Afghanistan is tenuous at best.
"Unlike Alexander the Great and the Soviet Union, we did not attack the Taliban in 2002 to conquer Afghanistan but to bring the 9/11 perpetrators to justice and to destroy al Qaeda's capacity to attack us again. That must remain our goal.
"It is unclear that President Hamid Karzai has the capacity or support of his countrymen to unify Afghanistan. While it would be desirable, the United States risks a protracted and unwinnable war if we base our success on a unified Afghanistan or on establishing a Western-style democracy in that country. Whether Afghanistan is unified or is ruled by tribal leaders who are enemies of terrorism does not matter. What matters is that the country does not become a safe haven for terrorists again and that al Qaeda and the Taliban be eliminated as a threat to the United States."