A grim milestone was reached last month. US casualties in Afghanistan during the Obama administration have now surpassed those of the Bush era. During the eight years of the Bush administration, total US fatalities in Afghanistan numbered 578. As of September 22 fatalities during the Obama administration were reported at 646.
Afghanistan is now truly Obama’s War. I write this with regret and sadness, not anger. I admire Obama greatly and support much of his progressive agenda. On this issue, though, I believe the president has been ill advised and placed too much faith in military solutions.
Many independent experts and former officials now agree the war is unwinnable and that less militarized strategies are necessary. This is the conclusion of the important report, A New Way Forward, by the Afghanistan Study Group, a prestigious collection of more than 50 prominent US security experts and former government officials. The report urges a greater emphasis on political solutions. The United States should lower its military footprint, support power-sharing within Afghanistan and sponsor regional diplomatic efforts to guarantee Afghanistan’s neutrality. The Study Group urges President Obama to stick to his commitment to begin a process of gradual military disengagement next July.
Meanwhile pray and work for peace, and urge the president to hold firm on the commitment to begin military withdrawals next July, sooner if possible.