Later has arrived, and Stanley A. McChrystal, Obama's choice to wage war in Afghanistan, says that many more troops are needed. According to a New York Times article, McChrystal will ask for 10,000 to 45,000 additional troops.
With public support for the war on the decline, Obama faces a potentially volatile situation if he agrees to an additional troop surge. Obama, who ran as the "anti-(Iraq)War" candidate, has always advocated the rightness of the war in Afghanistan. But his liberal base has begun to question the war. According to recent polls, a slight majority of the country believes that the war has not been worth the costs. These numbers do not bode well for decisions to prolong the operation into its ninth year.
The Hard and Bitter Truth
On a more human touch, Bob Herbert's latest column reminds us that war is still hell. I particularly found the following passage of "The Hard and Bitter Truth" moving:
A friend of mine. . .sent me an e-mail about a young serviceman in civilian clothes whom she and her husband noticed as he talked on a public telephone in the Atlanta airport last week. He was 19 or 20 years old and quite thin. His clothes and his shoes were worn, my friend said, but the thing she noticed most “was the sadness in his eyes and his sweet demeanor.”
Read the full column here: The Hard and Bitter Truth.
The young man was speaking to his mom in a voice that was quite emotional. My friend recalled him saying, “We’re about to board for Oklahoma for the training before we move out. I didn’t want to bother Amber at work, so please tell her I called if you don’t think it will upset her too much. . . .I miss you all so much and love you, and I just don’t know how I’ll get through this.”
At the end of the call, the serviceman had tears in his eyes and my friend said she did, too. She wrote in the e-mail: “I stood up and wished him good luck, and he smiled the sweetest smile that has haunted me ever since" (ellipses in original text).