U.S. Army 1st Lt. Larry Baca from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment monitors the weather as a storm moves in outside of Forward Operating Base Lane, Afghanistan, on Feb. 19, 2009. Department of Defense photo by Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini, U.S. Army.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown criticized President Donal Trump for asking for more troops in Afghanistan Monday with no clear exit strategy, or any other kind of strategy for that matter.

The war in Afghanistan is the longest running continual military conflict in United States history, launched in the fall of 2001, and going on nearly 16 years at this point.

A total of 27,018 people have been killed on the American coalition forces side of the conflict, including 21,950 Afghan Security Forces personnel and 2,271 American soldiers. An estimated 25,500 to 40,500 have been killed on the Taliban side, along with 31,000 Afghani civilians.

“Our military men and women, and their families, have given so much already,” Brown said in a statement Monday following the president’s speech. “Tonight, President Trump is asking even more of them without a plan to transfer power to the Afghan government or a plan to leave the country.”

The New York Times covered Trump’s speech:

In a nationally televised prime-time speech to troops at Fort Myer, Va., Mr. Trump said there would be no “blank check” for the American engagement in Afghanistan. But in announcing his plan, Mr. Trump deepened American involvement in a military mission that has bedeviled his predecessors and that he once called futile. …

Speaking to a military audience at a base outside Washington, Mr. Trump declared, “In the end, we will win.”

But he did not define what victory would look like, nor did he explain how his path would be different from what he labeled the failed strategies of previous presidents. …

Part of the plan is to deploy more American troops to Afghanistan to continue to train Afghan forces there, with the goal of convincing the Taliban — which has recently gained substantial ground in the war — that they could not win on the battlefield.

Mr. Trump said that the United States would put significant new pressure on Pakistan to crack down on the terrorist sanctuaries that line its border with Afghanistan. His comments could open a turbulent new chapter in relations with Pakistan, which has veered since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks from being an ally in the fight against terrorism to a haven in which Osama bin Laden hid out until he was killed in 2011.

By refusing to place a number on troops or to specify benchmarks for success, Mr. Trump was in essence shielding himself against potential backlash from his political base and from the American public, which has grown weary of the war.

Brown released a statement after the speech slamming Trump for the lack of any details.

“A commitment to ‘win’ is not a clear strategy, and our troops on the ground in Afghanistan deserve more,” Brown said. “Let me be clear – we cannot commit more troops and taxpayer dollars to this war until we have a clear exit strategy. This is a reversal from the President’s years of criticizing this war – both as a private citizen and a candidate. Tonight’s address left us with nothing more than unanswered questions.”

President Trump is fond of promising “winning” and ever reliable in never outlining what that means or how he’ll do it. Essentially, Trump has promised a “conditions-based approach” a la George W. Bush, which means that America’s longest war is only going to continue to get longer.

 
  • Martha Bartha

    Win? Win What?

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