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See Also: Afghanistan troops

Clare Spencer | 09:26 UK time, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

President Barack ObamaLast night, Barack Obama formally announced he would be sending an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. Commentators discuss the merits of the plan.

The Times says the President's delay has cost lives and his announcement of extra troops is late but welcome:

"At last, President Obama appears to have learnt the lesson of the 2007 surge in Iraq. To get out, the US must first be prepared to get farther in."

The Daily Mail editorial points out that France and Germany have not announced any extra troops. This is seen as further proof that an EU army would never get off the ground:

"The idea of an EU army was always a bad - if frightening - joke. Today, it is simply laughable. France and Germany should hang their heads in shame."

Michael Tomasky in the Guardian believes Afghanistan is more important than Americans think and calls this Obama's Churchill moment:

"The troop increase of 30,000, which will take the total number of US soldiers over 100,000 for the first time, is surely the most fateful decision of his presidency thus far, and its success or failure will go a long way toward determining his place in history."

Also in the Guardian Olivia Hampton says what Obama failed to mention is what happens if Afghanistan's President Karzai fails to run a functioning government:

"That may signal a lowering of the bar on what defines success, the US satisfied perhaps with an Afghan government that can survive on its own. But even that's a challenging objective.
For now, a war-weary US is braced for more flag-draped coffins and deeply scarred loved ones returning home."

The Huffington Post sums up the US commentators' reactions. Elsewhere on their site Leon Hadar calls the Obama's time-frame unrealistic if the US is really going to leave a stable nation behind:

"Which means that the U.S. forces will either have to remain in Afghanistan for many, many years to come - with Washington being forced to send even more troops and increase it economic assistance to Afghanistan - or that the rising costs of the American occupation will ignite more opposition from the American public and lead to a humiliating U.S. withdrawal a la Vietnam that could prove to be detrimental to U.S. and Western interests."

Links in full

Times | Kabul Fight
Alex Spillius | Telegraph | Obama gives with one hand and takes with the other
Daily Mail | Afghanistan and a lesson in EU humility
Michael Tomasky | Guardian | Barack Obama's Churchill moment
Olivia Hampton | Guardian | Afghanistan is now Obama's war
Independent | A pragmatic response to the difficulties of Afghanistan
Rupert Cornwell | Independent | Obama must explain how he'll get them out
John Terrett | Al Jazeera | A defining moment in Obama's presidency?
David Chater | Al Jazeera | The lessons of history
Leon Hadar | Huffington Post | The same old Pax Americana
Huffington Post | Obama Afghanistan speech: Reactions, analysis
Bob Herbert | New York Times | A Tragic Mistake

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