White: Support the troops, send more

"I'm on Facebook, friend me!" No, I'm actually not that desperate that I'm asking for Facebook friends in my article and no, the above quote was not made by me in a desperate attempt to increase my electronic social standing.

It was made by Adm. James Stavridis, a top NATO commander. The reason for him getting a Facebook? "Not everybody loves us."

I would be very scared to "poke" him because I would probably end up with half the army of the free world at my front door demanding to know why I electronically assaulted their commander.

Aside from checking out their hilarious new bumper stickers, NATO does actually have a job to do. Right now in Afghanistan there are 50,000 deployed troops aiding the U.S. with its post-war operations.

These troops perform services like training the Afghan military and police, providing security and assisting with reconstruction. They also execute counter-insurgency missions. In fact, on Oct. 6, NATO forces killed 100 Taliban members in a raid.

But the fact remains that despite all NATO is doing, Afghanistan is still a treacherous place. Beyond the capital, there are locations that are not heavily influenced by the Taliban or already under Taliban control. Though NATO is attempting to make headway by trying to extend the "safe area," it is an uphill battle.

Recently, the leading U.S. general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, claimed that the operation in Afghanistan was "under-resourced" and that a "dramatically different" strategy was needed. He called for more U.S. troops.

President Barack Obama has claimed he will think about it. Robert Gates, Obama's defense secretary, has stated that it will be one of the most important decisions of the Obama presidency.

That's a lot of pressure, huh? Well, it turns out that McChrystal was not finished. He went to London to give a speech, and said he believed that the U.S. would lose the war if more troops were not deployed.

In a meeting afterward, McChrystal was given a stern "talking-to" by Obama about how he should probably consult the president before making apocalyptic claims about a war run by the commander in chief.

Even with all these pressures, it seems Obama is having a tough time deciding what to do in Afghanistan. The answer is simple: he has to send more troops.

I understand the hesitation. Sending American men and women into harm's way is a decision I would never wish on anyone. But, let's not forget whom we're fighting.

These are the people who helped kill thousands of Americans by funding and organizing the Sept. 11 attacks. We need to defeat the Taliban (whom we originally funded, actually - poetic irony) so that they cannot help commit terrorist acts around the world.

Though it may not have been the right way to say it, McChrystal is right. We cannot win with our current strategy. We've been fighting for years, yet the Taliban is still just as resilient, if not more so.

More troops in the surge in Iraq did help improve the security there and it will also work in Afghanistan. It isn't an easy decision, definitely not one to be taken lightly. If we are serious about protecting Afghan lives, the lives of U.S. servicemen and preventing the Taliban from orchestrating terrorist attacks, then we need to reassess our strategy and increase our troop levels.