The Washington Post reports this week that the Trump administration, having given the Pentagon broader authority when it comes to waging military operations overseas, is preparing to send more troops to Afghanistan in the coming weeks. The Post reports that the surge is expected to counter what the military describes as a “resurgent” Taliban in the embattled country. The new strategy is also likely to include the use of more airstrikes against the Taliban as well as the lifting of restrictions the Obama administration placed on military movement in Afghanistan.
“The review is an opportunity to send a message that, yes, the U.S. is going to send more troops, but it’s not to achieve a forever military victory – rather, it’s to try to bring about a negotiated end to this conflict,” Afghanistan expert Andrew Wilder told the Post.
According to the report, it’s not yet clear where the president himself lands on the idea of a surge:
Trump is expected to make a final call on the strategy before a May 25 NATO summit in Brussels that he plans to attend.
Officials said it is unclear whether Trump, who has spoken little about the United States’ longest war, will look favorably upon expanding the U.S. role in Afghanistan. While he has voiced skepticism about allowing U.S. troops to become bogged down in foreign conflicts, the president has also expressed a desire to be tough on terrorism and has seemed to delight in the use of military force.
The Post reports that many in Trump’s inner circle have referred to the strategy, which would send another 3,000 American troops to join the more than 8,000 already there, as “McMaster’s War.” Trump’s National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, is seen as the chief proponent of the surge. Others in the administration feel that a major Afghanistan surge would be in diametric opposition to Trump’s campaign vow to begin pulling the U.S. out of messy foreign entanglements.
Well, this is the kind of decision that won’t be popular with Trump’s voters or the general American public. Most Americans have all but forgotten that we still have troops over there in the first place as the war lingers beyond its 16th year without any reasonable end in sight. This also highlights the danger of having “Establishment-approved” figures like McMaster so close to the president’s ear.
The last thing Trump needs is to turn his presidency into Bush, Part III. That’s exactly what the voters rejected in the primaries. Hopefully, he will exercise the wisdom we saw on the campaign trail and begin looking for a way to bring our boys home. It’s well past time for us to leave that hellhole behind.