Dear Mr. President,
I applaud your decision to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan at the beginning of next year. Although I do not like the fact that we are at war; it is my understanding that your decision is based on the recommendation of your field commanders who possess the greatest knowledge of the situation in Afghanistan.
I see how allowing the Afghanistan to continue to deteriorate could lead to future attacks on the United States and its allies, and I agree that the only way to eradicate the cancer that is terrorism is to deny those, who would spread death and destruction, safe havens where they may plot and plan their attacks against humanity.
That said, I would also like to see you fulfill the promise you made during your campaign for office to end the war. I think that the timeline you have set up is a step in the right direction; however it leaves one question lurking in the depths of my mind. You see, I have friends who will be deploying in Afghanistan. While I know that you have signed letters of condolence, visited the wounded, and seen the flag draped coffins of your fellow Americans; I do not know if you have done so for someone you knew personally. At this very moment I agonize over the words to convey the sorrow that comes from losing one you love to violence. The truth is that those words do not exist. While the troops that you now send into battle go willingly, prepared to give their lives for this country, it is harder for those they leave behind.
While I’m not comparing you to the Bush administration; your overall plan remains the same. You want to stay in Afghanistan to train a competent military force that can independently support the growing Karzai government. What happens if your timeline comes to an end in 2011 and your field commanders and military strategists agree that Afghanistan is still too unstable to be left alone? Will that be the point when America turns its’ back on this war and says, “Hey! We’ve done the best we can.” Or will it be the day that you have to send even more troops, keep soldiers from returning home, or otherwise continue to engage in what might be an endless war?
Either way, I truly do appreciate the effort that you and your administration are putting forth to be very clear with the American people. I support you as the Commander in Chief and your decision to send more troops, but I cannot help wondering “what if”. I cannot help but think about all the Americans across our glorious nation who will share my anxiety when they watch their loved ones depart for war. I’m sure you have a backup plan, but now that you have established what we, as a country, are going to do next; you need to tell us what will happen if our plan fails.
William P. Alexander