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OSU Military Scholar Supports President's Decision Sending More Troops To Afghanistan

A military scholar at Ohio State University has mixed reactions to what is known thus far about President Obama's military plan for Afghanistan. The retired Army colonel says he supports additional troops, but is concerned about withdrawing those troops too quickly.

Before coming to Ohio State University, Peter Mansoor served as Executive Officer to Gen. David Petraeus, then commander of multinational forces in Iraq. He says he agrees with President Obama's decision to send a surge of troops to Afghanistan.

"I think they're absolutely necessary to arrest the downward spiral in the security situation," Mansoor says. "And put the Taliban back on its heels. Then we can look at stabilizing the Afghan state, growing the Afghan security forces and improving the capacity of the Afghan government to meet the needs of its people. And then a few years down the road look at withdrawing our forces slowly over time."

The president, according to an administration official, is expected to announce that troops will start pulling out of Afghanistan in 19 months. But Mansoor says that may be too soon.

"I would just like to see the president open to more options should this take longer than he expects," Mansoor says. "And he should have some decision points down the road to enable our forces to stay longer if they are succeeding in accomplishing their mission albeit more slowly than he would like."

Mansoor says it will take time to win the war in Afghanistan. And time, he says, is just as important as additional troops.

"You can't get impatient with a counterinsurgency strategy or you'll lose in a hurry."