The Congressional Progressive Caucus has released a set ofrecommendations based on its series of forums on Afghanistan–thesixth and last of which will be held Wednesday. It’s releasing thereport now so its membership may consider it in deciding how to voteon the $96 billion War Supplemental this week.
Here is a preview of just a few of the valuable recommendations in thereport:
“Require an 80-20 ratio (political-military) with all future US funding,with a special inspector general to monitor the implementation of thisratio.”
Even Gen. Petraeus calls for this 80-20 ratio in his counterinsurgencystrategy, but a panelist on the Afghanistan Forum, Gen. Paul Eaton,former commander of Iraq’s security forces,pointed out that funding inAfghanistan is 90 percent military.
“Require the immediate cessation of drone attacks.”
Many of the panelists, including Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson–ColinPowell’s former Chief of Staff — pointed out that the high number ofcivilian deaths from drone attacks creates more enemies and fuels theinsurgency rather than undermining it.
“Require UN involvement in overseeing and mandating the role of US andinternational military operations…. Require any increase in US trooppresence is oriented to training and support roles for Afghan securityforces…not for US-led counterinsurgency efforts.”
The report reads, “17,000 additional troops are neither sufficient tomanage the conflict nor a useful contribution because the alreadydeployed US/international forces are not being presently utilized.” Itis worth noting that the Petraeus counterinsurgency strategy calls forupwards of 400,000 troops. Col. Wilkerson recommended thesupport/training role of any additional troops.
“Require the initiative of a dialogue process, with Saudi Arabia–whoinitiated previous talks between Afghan government and ethnic/triballeaders–taking the lead, or with other international organizationtaking the lead.”
Its clear that the insurgency will not be defeated and security notachieved until ethnic and tribal leaders are brought into the fold.
While I personally would like to see a call for immediate withdrawal ofUS troops, and a sharp and smart focus on diplomatic and politicalsolutions to the conflict, these recommendations would improve thecurrent strategy of escalation that destabilizes the region andthreatens President Obama’s domestic and international agenda. Kudos tothe Progressive Caucus for setting up these forums, listening to peoplewith a deep understanding of the issues, and putting forthrecommendations in a timely manner.