The Gathering Storm
You want a fight, Mr. Bush? On escalation, you've got it.
We all witnessed Mr. Bush's insulting performance on "60 Minutes."
Presidential hopeful John Edwards has come out strong against escalation.
Senator Chris Dodd, another Dem in the '08 race, wants to cap the number of troops in Iraq.
Republican Senator Hagel joined the Democrats against escalation today as well.
The AP is reporting about the Democrats resolution "against the Iraq war." But it's specifically about being against any escalation.
Well, not too long ago, Senator Hillary Clinton took part in the press conference that was postponed from yesterday. Here's the video. Below is the letter she sent to Gates. No, let me rephrase that one. Evan Bayh signed on to the letter with her.
January 17, 2006
The Honorable Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301
Dear Mr. Secretary,
We recently returned from an important fact-finding trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our trip has been extraordinarily useful in helping us assess the situation on the ground in each country and in giving us another opportunity to thank the brave men and women of the United States military for their service. While we hope to soon discuss with you our impressions of the deteriorating situation in Iraq, we write this letter now, and with utmost urgency, about the need to expand our stabilization presence and increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan before the likely Taliban offensive in the spring.
In our discussions with commanders in Afghanistan, they explained to us that they expect a large offensive by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan this spring and the urgency of a decisive victory against the Taliban and its supporters. The commanders expressed their concern that there would not be enough U.S. troops to conduct all necessary counter-insurgency operations in the already volatile south and east of the country. Specifically, the commanders told us there is an urgent need to maintain and then expand our presence in Afghanistan by two infantry battalions, and possibly a third battalion for a total commitment of approximately 2,300 troops. We understand one way this can be accomplished is by having one battalion stay in-country longer, and having at least one other battalion prepared to be sent to the field immediately. A third battalion would be ready for deployment should the situation so warrant.
The Taliban – and its al Qaeda partner – remains a pernicious enemy, and a failure to defeat it decisively in the spring risks undermining public confidence in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. It would be tragic if we fail in Afghanistan because of an unwillingness to deploy a manageable size of additional troops to aid an important and willing ally during a time of true need.
We also were told by the commanders that there is an overall shortage of Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance (ISR) capabilities in Afghanistan. In particular, the commanders told us they need more Predator unmanned aerial vehicles. More than five years after 9/11, this is unacceptable.
Unlike in Iraq, we have a government in Afghanistan committed to promoting national interests over sectarian ones, is making tangible progress in governance, sincerely wants more U.S. help, and is fighting the enemy that brought us September 11.
We know that you share our goal of defending the nation against radical extremism and terrorism. It is in this context that we respectfully ask that the commanders’ requirements in Afghanistan be met, and that this happen with the highest urgency.
Thank you for your consideration.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Was this the first salvo on Senator Clinton's presidential bid? Let the debate begin.
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