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Odd that Afghanistan finally concerns GOP

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I find the controversy surrounding President Obama's delay in making a decision on a troop increase in Afghanistan strange.

The same Republicans who chose to abandon the Afghan conflict for the past six years have suddenly become champions of the war overnight. The right had no problem stripping manpower, equipment and scarce resources from Afghanistan to advance their cause of removing Reagan's best friend from power in a short, bloodless war that would pay for itself.

In 2003, Donald Rumsfeld announced the end of "combat activity" in Afghanistan, and John McCain declared that we'd already "prevailed" in Afghanistan back in 2004. The former presidential candidate rarely discussed Afghanistan until recently, though he did argue that we will just have to "muddle through," erroneously said Hamid Karzai was the president of Iraq and expressed his concern about the "Iraq/Pakistan border."

In 2005, he described the "remarkable success" in Afghanistan; apparently no one told him the country was in the grip of a raging insurgency at the time. He didn't even bother to mention Afghanistan on his campaign Web site.

Republicans argue that the generals on the ground are urgently calling for more troops. Odd, since they had no difficulty dismissing similar requests made in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

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To continue the Republican policy of nation-building, a mere 40,000 additional troops hardly seems adequate. Republicans failed to resource the war even when the United States held the initiative. Despite Dick Cheney's claims, the neo-con Afghan war strategy was simple: "democratize" Iraq.

Justin M. Jones, Bloomington


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