February 17th, 2009
04:01 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama approves Afghanistan troop increase

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama has approved a significant troop increase for Afghanistan, Pentagon officials told CNN Tuesday.

The new troop deployment is expected to include 8,000 Marines headquartered from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as well as 4,000 additional Army troops from Fort Lewis, Washington. The troops will be equipped with Stryker vehicles able to operate in southern Afghanistan's tough terrain, according to the Pentagon officials.

The Obama administration has been conducting several reviews of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, including a review by Gen. David Petraeus, the commander in the region.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the original mission in Afghanistan was "too broad" and needs to be more "realistic and focused" for the United States to succeed.

"If we set ourselves the objective of creating some sort of central Asian Valhalla over there, we will lose, because nobody in the world has that kind of time, patience and money," Gates said during a recent Senate hearing.

Filed under: Afghanistan • President Obama
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. JJ12345

    Where is Code Pink and the other antiwar groups? Have not heard from them in a while or is it ok now that Obama is President?

    February 17, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Lori in St Pete

    No frodo, Afghanistan is little georgie's war as well. Had he done the right thing and gone after binladen instead of invading a soverign nation who did NOTHING to us, maybe obl would have been caught long ago.

    Yes warmonger, it IS bush's fault that President Obama has to send more troops into Afghnistan (see the first paragraph of my post).

    Obama loves war, it's okay because that's where obl is reported to be, and according to your boy little georgie, HE was responsible for 9/11. Do you believe we should let the real murderers get away with it?

    All of the whiners who are bashing President Obama, just remember, it way YOUR boy who didn't do his job, so just like with everything else in his life, a grownup has to come in and clean up his mess. The truth of the matter is you're TERRIFIED the troops are actually going to FIND obl on President Obama's watch, which will further hurt your party's credibility and push you further into oblivion.

    And before any of you bed wetters even start with the "dems want to abolish free speech", nothing could be further from the truth. We WANT you to keep talking 'cause every time your do, it just makes it easier for us to marginalize you and hold you up for ridicule! Now get over it, you lost.

    February 17, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. worriedmom

    God Bless our Troops! We ned to continue to pray for them. Here the Left was complaining about all the money we have been spending in Iraq, just dont complain of the money we will be spending in Afghanastin. I really worry about our young men and women!

    February 17, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Jim

    HIstory repeats itself. The Russians fought this war for 10 years. These people are used to nothing else, therefor another ten or twenty years will make no difference to them.

    The fighters have too many escape routes, too many volunteers and too much money (mainly from the Arab states).

    The politicians will not allow the war to be won. You cannot go in and fight a gentleman's war against the likes of the Taliban. They are not going to play the game with you. You have to be ready for lots of collateral damage. Our politicians (and press) are not.

    Bush was correct in some ways on both fronts, Iraq and here, but he did not let his Generals take care of business. I am sure the great military mind of obama will do the same.

    February 17, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. The US is lost

    The US does not have a tactical mission in place in Afghanistan - we have no stated goals – no mission – and nto hardly enough troops.

    Why is the US supporting the Afghan government when they are all heroin dealers? Afghanistan produces 90% of the world's heroin crop – US warplanes fly over the poppy fields every day – US troops drive by them all day long - We do nothing. Half the heroin profits go to the Taliban and Bin Laden 25% go to the tribal leaders -and 25% go to the Afghn government. And we want to waste US lives fighting for this? The US has lost its way

    February 17, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Ian

    Isn't this what bankrupted the Soviets?

    Doesn't congress have to declare war?

    Doesn't the constitution prohibit wars to go beyond two years?

    February 17, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. rodlang

    Is it time for the draft? We keep on asking about 3% of the population to make all the sacrifices (and their families). The war in Afghanistan will last years. Those tribal people know how to hide and fight in that horrid terrain.

    February 17, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. geen

    I despised the moron who preceded Barack because of his love or war and absolute disregard for the American lives wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan, for his love of torture..for his killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians in those countries...With the news that Obama is escalating the war on afghanistan, he now takes ownership of that fiasco in much the same way that Johnson took ownership of that genocidal desecration of Vietnam from the Kennedy administration....as a supporter of Obama, it is hard for me to understand how he could so easily forget this issue which initially propelled him to the forefront of progressive, anti-war voter's...I would admonish him and anyone in Washington responsible for sending young amerians to their deaths to read Robert Fisk's book, the Great War for Civilization; and, to give them a sense of the folly they seem hell bent on pursuing, learn the lessons of historian Barbara Tuchman's The March of Folly, for this escalating venture, were she still alive, would contribute an extra chapter to her book...and, of course, in closing..one other book which is a blueprint for how the State department SHOULD function-The Ugly American by Burdick...to ignore the lessons of these three books, is to live in a world of categorical denial and ignorance as to how other cultures view and regard ours. it is not surprising that Clinton won't learn lessons, it is inconceivable that an intelligent person such as Obama would. were I him, I'd mandate that everyone in state department and military read these books. WE cannot afford to send Americans to die for lost causes....We should get out of afghanistan instead of escalating this senseless war.

    February 17, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Tony

    How easy it must be to send the loved ones of OTHER PEOPLE to potentially lose their lives.

    Like Bush, as long as it is not his family, who cares?

    My nephew will be sent to Afghanistan in the next few months.

    I will start working now to get Obama voted out in 2012.

    February 17, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Kevin

    As an Army vet, I am proud to say this statement:


    February 17, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. Ian

    Weren't the 9-11 hijackers from Saudi Arabia?

    February 17, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Liz in Texas

    Rick and Mike H., obviously you weren't listening to Obama during the campaign. He is fulfilling a campaign promise, not breaking one. Obama has always said he would withdraw troops from Iraq and increase troops in Afghanistan. It is evident you weren't listening to Obama during the campaign and that your vote (if you bothered) and your opinion of Obama is based on ignorance.

    February 17, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. Enrique in Virginia

    I hate to admit this out loud but it is a fact. President Bush committing more troops back in 2003 did the right thing. The surge tactic is working. We could not see or predict the outcome back then, but today in 2009 we see that it IS IN FACT working.
    President Bush deserves far more credit for this sole action. He may be guilty of a whole lot of various things, but the man was right on this one.
    With that being said, we ALL know how then Senator Obama promised a full military pull out and troop withdrawal if elected. Now, President Obama, by standing by the troops and sending in more, is NOT GOING AGAINST HIS WORD. President Obama is doing the right thing. The surges are working. We need more time over there. Gen Petraius knew this. Gen Odeirno knew this. If this is how we end up winning this thing in the end, then we MUST support President Obama and understand the bigger picture.
    I believe, in my heart and being a former Soldier, we will prevail over the enemy by staying the course. President Bush was wrong in getting us in this mess but he corrected himself by supporting those Generals and reinforcing the surge move.
    Both President Bush and President Obama are right in sending in more troops and staying the course.
    I am a Democrat but I do admit, YES Mr. President (W) YOU CAN LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND SAY YOU DID THE RIGHT THING.

    February 17, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    @ Rick , Don & Others

    Before you start making comments saying this is a mistake and that President Obama lied about bringing the troops home, get your facts right. From the very beginning the president has said we need to get out of Iraq and redeploy our troops into Afghanistan. THAT'S WHAT HE SAID!!! This is the war that is suppose to be being waged. The Al Queda/Taliban stronghold is along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. These are the people who attacked us, and these are the people we ar going after. As the president said in his inaugarational speech, "you can not outlast us and we will defeat you!"

    February 17, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. SBAMA


    He promised a reduce in troops in Iraq and an increased focus on Afg. Looks like he is following through with his promises so far.

    February 17, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Mark Ramsey MD, Milwaukee WI

    Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do. These republican obstructionists are going to look awfully bad when Obama successfully removes us from Iraq, controls the situation in Afghanistan, brings us out of recession, and brings all Americans healthcare. And the only thing they are going to accomplish by this continued partisan fighting is losing more seats in 2 years. Better listen to the American people, republicans. They chose Obama and his ideas. Continue to resist, and pay the price....

    February 17, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. Jeffrey in Georgia

    Well, I'm against it, but then I'm against most foreign entanglements for our troops. But you have to remember, this isn't a surprise. Obama said he would do this throughout his campaign. Take troops out of Iraq, where they have no business, and put them in Afghanistan, the country that actually harbored the men behind 9/11. Lets see how many Republicans support this move, as their party platform dictates, and how many come up with an excuse to be against it. The ones who are against it are just playing politics, while the ones who support it are sticking to their values, misguided though they may be.

    February 17, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Joe Six Pack

    Game over for Bin Laden/Al Qaeda...

    February 17, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. fella from Chicago

    Screwed-up cabinet picks, a screwed-up stimulus bill, and now a soon to be screwed-up Afghanistan foreign policy. Move over Buchanan, there's soon to be a new dead last President for the historians to choose from.

    February 17, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. mother of a soldier

    Just don't understand why Obama is adding troops to Afghanistan without a plan or announced exit strategy as he criticized Bush. Do the American people really believe sacrificing lives to get Osama is going to be the end to this mess? As the fighting soldiers told me, you no sooner kill one Taliban leader than his replacement steps up and is also killed. There are many heads to the snake. There will always be someone to carry on the cause. Gee, Bill Clinton had no trouble deporting KSM after his first attempt at bombing the trade center so he could go home to plan better strategy. Clinton also had no problem forcing Isreal to release Mohammed Atta so he could participate in 9/11. Stop criticizing Bush...he made tough decisions to make us safe and we owe no thanks to the dems!

    February 17, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Dan J

    I love how this was announced within minutes of signing the stimulus bill. That's no coincidence. This Presidency is about stagecraft, smoke-and mirrors.

    February 17, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Brings them home wrong thing. There is a lesson the by learn in Iraq.

    February 17, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. WAYNE


    February 17, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. Dan J

    BOMB BOMB BOMB! President McCain is sure holding true to that promise! Oh, wait...

    February 17, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. JK Ashburn, VA

    This will be fun - watching the lefties who were blowing a gasket over troops fighting foreign wars while Bush was president to now defending a troop increase by Obama. The mental and linguistic gymnastics will be very amusing to watch.

    February 17, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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