Let the Debates Begin: Can More Troops Solve Afghanistan's Problems?
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The soaring violence in Afghanistan, including today's suicide attack on three Kabul government buildings that killed 27 people, must force us to rethink our country's objectives in the region. Proponents of military escalation have yet to state our mission clearly. Nor have they defined success or come to a consensus about what it would cost to achieve stability, either in terms of troop numbers or dollars spent.
Is our country in this war to prevent the region from turning into a terrorist safe haven? Or do we have the lofty, long-term goals of protecting the Afghan population and preventing regional destabilization? And how will we pay for it, considering our own economic morass and the fact that this war currently costs $36 billion annually? None of this is clear, which leaves a window of opportunity for some much-needed public debate.
Yesterday, Brave New Foundation released the first video in its series of Rethink Afghanistan debates on the issues surrounding this war. Longtime political activist and writer Tom Hayden squared off against Michael O'Hanlon, an expert in U.S. national security policy with the Brookings Insitution. Their topic: Can more troops solve Afghanistan's problems?
ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.