Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says he believes a “surge” of more U.S. troops into Afghanistan is what’s needed, while Democratic Senator Tom Harkin says he’s reluctant to see an “escalation” in Afghansitan.
President Obama is nearing a decision on troop commitments in Afghanistan. Grassley says it appears the generals in charge have the same goals for Afghanistan that they had for Iraq.
“I saw a surge work in Iraq and it looks to me like Iraq is moving down the road to being more peaceful and having a democratic government,” Grassley says.
President Obama is scheduled to meet with his military leaders and members of his foreign policy team tomorrow to discuss plans for Afghanistan. The top general in Afghanistan has asked for an additional 40,000 troops. Grassley says he plans to support what the generals on the ground recommend.
“Since I voted to put people in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan several years ago with a vote, it seems to me I have an obligation to make sure that whatever is needed there is provided,” Grassley says.
Senator Tom Harkin, Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, isn’t convinced a troop surge is the answer.
“My bottom line is number one: we can’t stay there forever. Number two: we can’t shoulder the burden by ourselves. Number three: it’s the kind of situation that I don’t think lends itself to a ‘military solution,'” Harkin says. “It’s got to be a little bit of military and a little bit of political solution.”
Harkin discussed the situation in Afghanistan during a weekend appearace on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program. “I want to see more of a plan and it doesn’t have to be public — I mean, we’re ‘top secret clearance’ (as United States Senators). I get all these briefings and stuff. If they want to make it public, if they’ve got some way that they want to do things…What is the end goal? How do we get there? What happens afterward? I’d like to know that. I don’t see that out there right now,” Harkin said. “…I’d like to see that before I’d support sending any more troops.”
President Obama recently told ABC News that the “prospects of a functioning Afghan goverment are enhanced (and) that the prospects of al-Qaida being able to attack the U.S. homeland are reduced” if additional U.S. troops are sent to Afghanistan.