Obama: Early To Mull More Troops In Afghanistan

President Barack Obama says he needs to see how fast Afghanistan can be stabilized and led toward a more democratic government before deciding whether more troops are needed.

In an interview with Newsweek magazine, Obama said the hardest thing he has had to do so far in his administration was to order 17,000 troops to Afghanistan on top of an estimated 38,000 that were already in Afghanistan. The interview was released on the Web Saturday.

He did not rule out the possibility of sending even more troops, while stressing such a decision was premature at this point and that U.S. military action is not the only answer to bringing stability to the region.

"We have to see our military action in the context of a broader effort to stabilize security in the country, allow national elections to take place in Afghanistan and then provide the space for the vital development work that's needed so that a tolerant and open, democratically elected government is considered far more legitimate than a Taliban alternative," Obama said.

"My strong view is that we are not going to succeed simply by piling on more and more troops," he added. "The military component is critical to accomplishing that goal, but it is not a sufficient element by itself."

Obama said he wrestled with his options before making the decision in February to order a surge of troops. He said he was sobered by the idea that many men and women could be harmed but that a surge was unavoidable.

"The starting point was a recognition that the existing trajectory was not working, that the Taliban had made advances, that our presence in Afghanistan was declining in popularity, that the instability along the border region was destabilizing Pakistan as well," Obama said.

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  • by The Wise One Location: New York, NY on May 17, 2009 at 06:08 PM
    Wolfgang, you may ask, but you will not be answered by President Barack Hussein Obama. I don't think he has enough time to entertain your questions.
  • by Jasper Location: NC on May 17, 2009 at 02:34 PM
    The greatest achievement of Obama's election. The Guns and Ammunition industry has soared,and has made more money and profits in such a short time. Thanks to the most Anti -Gun President in American history. Go figure.
  • by Anonymous on May 17, 2009 at 12:15 PM
    Has anyone else noticed how the waterboarding thing died right out on here as soon as it became apparent that Nancy Pelosi was implicated?
  • by Wolfgang Location: Chocowinity,NC on May 17, 2009 at 09:52 AM
    Where is the media? If this was Pres. Bush's war again. Their first comment would be. How many Americans died in your war this week Pres. Bush?. Oh we can not ask the choosen one such a critical question like that. Well I can. How many Americans died in you stupid war this week Pres. Obama? 10? 100? a 1000? or more.
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on May 17, 2009 at 08:14 AM
    Just whats what was wrong with my comment?
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on May 17, 2009 at 06:23 AM
    Obama should be given a M-240 machinegun and a 75 pound backpack and let him spend a month on the ground in Afghanistan. Then he will at least have a little experience before making a decision on military operations.Except he wouldn't last 2 days.
  • by Mike Location: Edenton on May 17, 2009 at 03:25 AM
    He's waiting for the Taliban to gain more strength or even regain control of the country. That is the general tactic of every American Democrat President since FDR.
  • by Tad Location: Jamesville on May 17, 2009 at 01:37 AM
    This idiot couldn't find his butt with both hands.

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