US lawmakers seek `smart power` not more troops for Afghan

As Obama mulls over surge in US troops in Afghanistan, lawmakers urge admin to use "smart power".

Updated: Nov 17, 2009, 21:27 PM IST

Washington: As President Barack Obama
mulls over the surge in American troops in Afghanistan, US
lawmakers have urged the administration to use "smart power",
arguing that sending more forces is not an answer to the war
against terrorism in the restive nation.

"Relying on military power alone has not done the job,
and escalating the war now by sending in tens of thousands
more troops won’t solve the problem either," Congresswoman
Lynn Woolsey said.

"That’s why I am calling on President Obama to change
our mission in Afghanistan. I have urged him to devote most of
our efforts on humanitarian aid, diplomacy, and economic
development," he said, adding "These are the elements of
`Smart Security`".

She said they’ll do a much better job of stabilising
Afghanistan "than a heavy military footprint".

Noting that things have gotten so bad, Woolsey told
the House of Representative yesterday that the casualty rate
in Afghanistan is now actually higher than the casualty rate
for American troops at the height of the violence in Iraq.

"Without this change in strategy, our troops are
likely to face worse, not better, situations. The enemy is
learning how to use IEDs more efficiently," she said.

The Congresswoman asked the administration "to move in
a new and a different direction for the sake of our country
and for the sake of America’s troops and their families," for
it is time "to put `Smart Security` to work in a place where
military power alone just isn’t the answer.

Bureau Report