Letter to President Obama - Suggested Afghanistan Policy
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
You successfully campaigned against the Iraq War and are doing the best you can to remove our combat troops from Iraq. Thank you.
You also inherited the NATO war in Afghanistan, which is not just a United States war. The original strategy developed eight years ago was to eliminate the Al-Qaida terrorists from that country. This has been done. Reports today show there are less than 100 such terrorists left in Afghanistan.
Times have changed. Thank you for the careful consideration that you are giving to a new strategy.
My suggestion is that you should not make a United States decision on increasing troops to Afghanistan. This is not a United States decision. This should be a NATO decision.
My proposal is that you call for an immediate summit of all NATO nations and invite China, India, and Iran to participate. The problem today in the world is with global terrorism - - groups of fanatics who want to destroy the ways of life in all of the countries listed above. I suggest this summit be held in either London or Madrid, countries who have also suffered terrorist attacks like, our 9-11 tragedy.
Many of the original Afghanistan terrorists are now in Pakistan, but they are also in many other places as proven by their attacks in several other countries. They will go to any country where they can operate to accomplish their goals, including the US, England, Spain, Germany, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan.
The purpose of the summit is to develop a new global strategy for all countries to work together to eliminate these terrorist organizations. This is a multi-generational problem.
As you know Afghanistan does not have a functional democracy, and never had. The main goal of the people of Afghanistan is basic security and the delivery of fundamental infrastructure services such as water and electricity.
There is no role for combat troops in this effort. We should ask each country to provide large financial resources to help the Afghan people and also other countries such as Pakistan to create functional democracies with basic security and infrastructure.
This bottoms-up strategy must be done by the local people, particularly the Afghans, but it will probably take as much money as we have been spending on combat troops. NATO nations and the other participants of this summit need to help. This must be a coordinated global strategy to fight terrorism wherever it arises. And this program needs to be reviewed and revised regularly as conditions change.
Far from a retreat, this is an aggressive positive program with a long range goal to develop the core ingredients for peace, security, and free enterprise, with respect everywhere for human rights.
We must show the world that this is the way to live.
This global cooperative effort for peace can also be used to help the necessary movements on critical environmental issues and the reduction of global poverty.
As we develop this strategy, you can use your skills first in negotiation and secondly in explaining this to the American people.
E. Cabell Brand