Okay, the basics first:
- Here’s the video, and the full transcript.
- Here are various responses: McChrystal, McCain and various other responses.
- The BBC has some reactions from people in Afghanistan as well as from the NATO Secretary General and Nicolas Sarkozy.
- And here’s a good summary of the latest: Ban Ki-moon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Britain, India.
Since you asked (okay, maybe you didn’t), and since no one else has contributed their opinion into the ether (okay, so that’s not true either) … regardless, I’m gonna throw my tuppence into the already-overflowing pot.
I’ve read lots of blogs, news articles, journals, op-eds, and more, on Afghanistan, on the current situation, on the pros and cons of putting more troops in, on the pros and cons of taking troops out, and on other strategies and tactics — read them ad nauseam, actually! And the thing is, after reading all of these pieces, I still don’t know.
As a Christian, I know that I want peace and security, not just for us in the US, but for the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan as well. As a Christian, I know that armed conflict and violence is not and cannot be my preferred method for securing such peace and security; but I also wonder if maybe standing up for those who are unable to defend themselves involves doing something about the aggressor. And I’m still thinking about what all this faith stuff looks like in practice.
As you can see, I’m not totally sure. And so it comes down to this: I trust the President. Over the last three years, I’ve come to see similarities and parallels between Barack and me: in temperament, in thinking, in perspective, in decision-making. I’ve come to appreciate that his Christian faith is as real and genuine to him as mine is to me, and that it informs his worldview as much as it does mine. And so I think, I’ve come to trust him. (Some say I’m too trusting, but that’s another conversation for some other day.)
The thing is, everyone has an opinion and everyone has a perspective that’s shaped by their experience, and everyone tends to argue forcefully for their perspective. So, given the differences in opinion on the matter of Afghanistan, I’m trusting that he’s taking all the advice he’s getting from experts — whoever they may be and whatever they’re advocating — and is weighing it all up to make the best and wisest decision he can.
Time will tell if my trust is vindicated.
All of that being said, one thing I am sure of is that we should stop US drones from bombing Pakistani civilians.