Thursday, October 15, 2009

VFW National Commander backs McChrystal Plan

KANSAS CITY, Mo., October 16, 2009 - The national commander of the
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is concerned that the intense
debate in Washington over the assessments and recommendations by the
U.S. military commander in Afghanistan is posing a direct threat to
troops as well as to the nation's defense.

In a statement, Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., a Vietnam veteran from
Sussex, Wis., said, "In battle, weaknesses are exploited and attacked,
which proved to be the case during the Vietnam War. North Vietnam
correctly perceived that the United States government did not possess
the political will to complete the mission, and that perception became
reality. Their strategy revolved around the fact that U.S. political
interests trumped important military decisions, which resulted in a
lengthened war and more U.S. casualties.

In Afghanistan, the extremists are sensing weakness and indecision
within the U.S. government, which plays into their hands, as evidenced
by the increased attacks in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan. I fear
that an emboldened enemy will now intensify their efforts to kill more
U.S. soldiers.

President Obama's primary responsibility is that of
Commander-in-Chief, and he has a obligation to ensure his commander's
advice takes precedence over opinion polls and politics.

When the president addressed VFW delegates during its 110th Nation
Convention in August, he was very specific when he stated, 'This is
not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked
America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the
Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al
Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war
worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.'
When the president directed more troops into Afghanistan in March, he
issued a statement that said, 'This increase is necessary to stabilize
a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the
strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires. The
Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda supports the
insurgency and threatens America from its safe haven along the
Pakistani border.' In other words, President Obama identified
Afghanistan as a counterinsurgency operation requiring appropriate
planning, which means our commanders are the experts in this regard,
not our politicians."

In addition to the deployments that have occurred, Army Gen. Stanley
McChrystal also requested 40,000 additional troops he says are
necessary to prevent the country from falling into the hands of the
Taliban. That request has provoked opposition in Washington from some
administration officials as well as congressional members who do not
want to further escalate a war that so far has been under resourced
and undermanned."I urge the president to heed the assessment and
advice of his military leaders who have provided a clear path forward
for achieving success against al Qaeda and its allies. I ask that he
be decisive during this critical juncture. Time is not a luxury when
our magnificent men and women in uniform are in harm's way," concluded

Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., was elected national commander of the 2.1
million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its
Auxiliaries in August 2009. He served as an Army demolition specialist
with the Americal Division in South Vietnam from 1967-1968. Click here
to read VFW's resolution on supporting the War on Terrorism

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