Three prominent Senate voices on foreign relations are now calling on the Obama administration to strengthen its commitment to Afghanistan.
In the op-ed, published in The Wall Street Journal on Sunday evening, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) ask the White House to consider deploying a "significant increase in U.S. forces" to the struggling state, asserting that any other course of action would be a "guarantee of failure."
"The growing calls for withdrawal reflect, more than anything, our failure to show progress in the war," the senators wrote. "After eight years of fighting, the American people see rising casualties and no sign that the tide is turning in our direction."
But, they added: "We have reached a seminal moment in our struggle against violent Islamist extremism, and we must commit the 'decisive force' that Gen. [Stanley] McChrystal tells us carries the least risk of failure."
Graham, Lieberman and McCain's remarks on Sunday are but the latest salvo in an ongoing struggle between Congress and President Barack Obama over the future of military activity in Afghanistan. The Obama administration has suggested in the preceding weeks it wants to send additional troops to Afghanistan, but it has not formally requested any. Congressional Democrats, however, have voiced increasing skepticism of the idea, and Republicans have pounced on the Democrats' indecisiveness.
"We recognize that a decision to increase the number of American troops in Afghanistan will be politically difficult here at home," the senators wrote in their op-ed. "Some will say we can't afford it. Others will warn the president of 'quagmire' and urge him to send either no new forces, or fewer than Gen. McChrystal recommends—perhaps with the promise of 're-evaluating' further deployments later on."
"The U.S. walked away from Afghanistan once before, following the Soviet collapse," the lawmakers conclude. "The result was 9/11. We must not make that mistake again."