This from Jon Rainwater in today's San Francisco Chronicle:
In the time it takes to read this piece, the troop escalation in Afghanistan will have cost $171,000. This week, President Obama is asking Congress for an additional $33 billion to fund the misguided surge. For the sake of his domestic agenda and our national security, we need an alternative approach in Afghanistan, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should lead the charge.
Conventional wisdom tells us that Americans will not put a price on their security. However, after eight years of dismal results, many Americans struggling to get by are justifiably questioning the expense. After all, how do 100,000 troops in Afghanistan protect us from a Yemeni-trained and Nigerian-born man from London attempting to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit?
I have spoken with many on Capitol Hill who seem paralyzed by the Afghanistan dilemma. Democrats are loath to contradict a president from their own party. To their credit, some members of Congress, including Speaker Pelosi, have indicated discomfort with an intensifying military strategy. But Congress must not waste years and untold lives as it did under the Bush administration. It needs to stand up now to make the case for a comprehensive diplomacy and development-oriented alternative to a status quo that is squandering lives and undermining our security.
We are stuck in a cycle of violence with no end in sight, even with the troop escalation. Many military experts believe that more troops on the ground will not create more security but rather simply provide more targets.