Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Your advice to President Obama

US soldiers in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

President Barack Obama has a decision to make. Should he or should he not send thousands more US troops to Afghanistan?

His closest advisers are split. Karl Eikenberry, the US ambassador in Kabul, has written to the White House to oppose sending large numbers of extra troops to Afghanistan until President Karzai's government proves it will tackle corruption.

This places the ambassador - a former military commander in Afghanistan - at odds with generals seeking reinforcements.

The top US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, is pushing for the deployment of a further 40,000 troops to the area, while the Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm Mike Mullen are believed to favour sending an additional 30,000 soldiers to Afghanistan.

Here is a selection of your advice to President Obama.


President Obama appointed Gen McChrystal and if the general says he needs more troops this is what he should receive. If you charge a person with a task one should support him or her all the way!!!!!!Chuck Merkel, Eldersburg, Maryland, USA

No additional troops to Afghanistan. No more losses of American lives. Afghans should take care of themselves. Aman Khan, Santa Clara, CA, USA

The president needs to support the military generals who are wanting to win this war and are not trying to keep his approval rates high. Stop playing both sides of this decision and get behind your military advisors not the politicians. Rodney Brown, Laveen, AZ, USA

Yes, they should send more troops. The situation in Iraq only stabilised after the surge (even though it still isn't ideal). Security comes first - and after security comes everything else. Without security the civil service can't develop, the economy can't thrive, education and trade and all of the requirements of a developed society can't exist in any meaningful way. Until the economy in particular stabilises, you can't pay the police enough of a wage to make corruption at least less attractive. It is however a vast project that may take several decades to accomplish - especially since Afghanistan is several orders of magnitude poorer even than Iraq and has very little natural resources, or industry to base it's economy on. George Jackson, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

I feel that overwhelming force and all available resources should be used if it is intended that we "win" the war against the Taliban. If a "win" is not desired we should withdraw all resources from Afghanistan. Rudolf Salomon, San Saba, Texas, USA

My advice is an emphatic NO. Heaven helps those who help themselves. The killing of the five British Army police officers and the escape of the killer is a clear indication of what is yet to come. President Obama would be "self objectively disordered" if he sends more troops to Afghanistan. Oladeji N. Gabisi, Hamilton, Bermuda

No more troops to Afghanistan or anywhere else. We need to start bringing all our troops home to be used for defensive purposes only. The world is not ours to police or to boss around. We may choose to assist other countries but not to occupy them. John Lancaster, Rome, Georgia, USA

What will tens of thousands more military troops achieve? Beware of advice from military commanders. Remember what happened to President Johnson and the SE Asia debacle known as Vietnam. Again, what exactly are you attempting to achieve in Afghanistan? Stan Junk, Kelseyville, CA, USA

Mr Obama campaigned on Afghanistan being the just war we should have been fighting all along. Now it's time he put his money where his mouth has been. Give Gen McChrystal the additional 40,000 ground forces he has requested and give the same counter-insurgency strategy that seems to have brought Iraq to some level of stability a chance. Not doing so after eight years of a seemingly ineffective strategy would not only be immoral but lacking in pragmatism. If it does not work, and nothing says it will (Afghanistan and Iraq are two very different cases), then at least Obama tried his best and would then be more justified in cutting his losses. John Diehl

No. NGOs and maybe good-will missions with the consent of the Afghan Government would be slower but more effective. Elizabeth Holmes, Brentwood, TN, USA

An entirely corrupt failed invasion and occupation, rotten at the foundation and inception. We do not own Afghanistan, have no right whatsoever to be there and are causing the chaos which exists there. To serve one egomaniacal General bent on a personal endless war in foreign sovereign nations is not America's quest. A clearing out of the Bush era militaristic fanatics including Gates, Petraeus and now McChrystal is adamantly necessary to progress from this death filled conflagration. Mr. Davidson, Pittsburgh, Pa, USA

No more troops in Afghanistan. There is no military solution in this tribal country. There needs to be a system in place that oversees the distribution of aid money and fights corruption. But US soldiers cannot fight the battle that is raging there. Afghanistan has to find its own political solution. Christel Detsch, USA

President Obama should follow Mr. Eikenberry's advice. He's a thoughtful man with broad on-the-ground experience, whereas Gen McChrystal seems overly eager to escalate this war. We need wisdom, not hawkish leadership. Judith Campbell, Houston, Texas, USA

Generals are always optimistic about winning a war and always want more troops to do it. This was the case in Vietnam until reality became overwhelming. In WWI, generals on both sides wanted ever more soldiers to throw against the enemy. As a former military commander in Afghanistan, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry must have a good understanding of what is happening there, and should be a powerful voice in the discussion of future plans. Ed, Derby, UK

Sending more troops is not the answer as we found out during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The US should commit more resources into training the Afghan army to take control of its territory. It should also focus on tackling corruption, strengthening of democratic institutions and providing incentives to win over the Taliban. A few thousand American troops can then remain to help with intelligence gathering and other strategic operations. Staying out of the limelight will help to reduce the notion of an occupying power. Abdulai Jalloh, New York, USA

My advice would be to work out a strategy to get out of Afghanistan over the next year or two and to provide only economic assistance to Pakistan to shore up its economy, with emphasis on improving the infrastructure and life of the people in the Pakistan North West Frontier Province and the Federally-administered Tribal area. Throughout history (from Alexander the Great forward), no outsiders have ever substantively positively influenced the lives of the Afghans. They are their own masters. Shahbaz Minhas, Vienna, Virginia, US

Send the 40,000 troops and finish what the Bush administration should have done years ago. Bush made the wrong call and attacked Iraq. This is President Obama's chance to get it right. Terry Payne, Foster City, CA, USA

Regrettably, I believe we still need to prioritise the needs of the military, at least in the short term, in Afghanistan. The potential price of failure to control or suppress (total defeat is unrealistic) Taliban/al Qaeda elements is huge. Lose control of Afghanistan and Pakistan might fall as a consequence with its nuclear weapons then in ruthless hands. Socio-political stability will take a long time to achieve, if indeed it ever occurs. We are dealing with a country, a region, with significantly different values and social history. We cannot simply hope to plaster on democracy even after a couple of elections. Afghanistan's politicians and people need to learn how to make a stable system work for themselves. That could take decades. Grant Cullen, Norfolk, UK

My advice: Listen to your envoy. The generals have learned nothing from centuries of foreign aggression in this part of the world. They need look no further back than the failed attempt by Russia in the 1980s. Pull the nukes from Pakistan and bring the troops home to rest before the next adventure in what, Venezuela, perhaps? Bob Young, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

No more troops for Afghanistan. I clearly understand the threat posed by the Taliban and other radical elements, but current and proposed levels of military intervention are not and will not be effective. Our troops are the best trained in the world, but their mission is unclear at best, and counterproductive at worst. I support our troops, but not this mission. Bring them all home and let the Afghanis deal with their own problems. Kenneth Tallman, Durango, CO, USA



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