FPI (formerly PNAC)'s Open Letter to Obama

September 7, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

The situation in Afghanistan is grave and deteriorating. This is in part the legacy of an under resourced war effort that has cost us and the Afghans dearly. The Taliban has retaken important parts of the country, while a flawed U.S. strategy has led American forces into secondary efforts far away from critical areas. However, we remain convinced that the fight against the Taliban is winnable, and it is in the vital national security interest of the United States to win it.

You’ve called Afghanistan an "international security challenge of the highest order, " and stated that "the safety of people around the world is at stake." Last month you told a convention of veterans, “Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.”

We fully agree with those sentiments. We congratulate you on the leadership you demonstrated earlier this year when you decided to deploy approximately 21,000 additional troops and several thousand civilian experts as a part of a serious counterinsurgency campaign. Your appointments of General Stanley McChrystal as top commander and David Rodriguez as second in command in Afghanistan exemplified the seriousness of purpose you spoke about during the campaign. We are heartened to see that the much needed overhaul of our military operations has begun.

Since the announcement of your administration’s new strategy, we have been troubled by calls for a drawdown of American forces in Afghanistan and a growing sense of defeatism about the war. With General McChrystal expected to request additional troops later this month, we urge you to continue on the path you have taken thus far and give our commanders on the ground the forces they need to implement a successful counterinsurgency strategy. There is no middle course. Incrementally committing fewer troops than required would be a grave mistake and may well lead to American defeat. We will not support half-measures that repeat the errors of the past.

This is, as you have said, a war that we cannot afford to lose. Failure to defeat the Taliban would likely lead to a return of al Qaeda to Afghanistan and could result in terrorist attacks on the United States or our allies. An abandonment of Afghanistan would further destabilize the region, and put neighboring Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal at risk. All our efforts to support Islamabad’s fight against the Taliban in Pakistan’s tribal regions will founder if we do not match those achievements on the other side of that country’s porous northwestern border.

As you observed during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, “You don't muddle through the central front on terror and you don't muddle through going after bin Laden. You don't muddle through stamping out the Taliban.” We completely agree. Having “muddled through” in Afghanistan for years, this is no longer a politically, strategically, or morally sustainable approach.

Mr. President, you have put in place the military leadership and sent the initial resources required to begin bringing this war to a successful conclusion. The military leadership has devised a strategy that will reverse the errors of previous years, free Afghans from the chains of tyranny, and keep America safe. We call on you to fully resource this effort, do everything possible to minimize the risk of failure, and to devote the necessary time to explain, soberly and comprehensively, to the American people the stakes in Afghanistan, the route to success, and the cost of defeat.

With the continued bravery of our troops, and your continued full support for them and their command team, America and our allies can and will prevail in Afghanistan.


Haley Barbour

Gary Bauer

Steve Biegun

Max Boot

Ellen Bork

Paul Bremer

Christian Brose

Debra Burlingame

Eliot A. Cohen

Ryan C. Crocker

Thomas Donnelly

Eric Edelman

William S. Edgerly

Jamie M. Fly

David Frum

Abe Greenwald

John Hannah

Pete Hegseth

Margaret Hoover

Thomas Joscelyn

Frederick W. Kagan

Robert Kagan

William Kristol

Tod Lindberg

Herbert London

Clifford May

Robert C. McFarlane

Joshua Muravchik

Andrew Natsios

Sarah Palin

Keith Pavlischek

Beverly Perlson

Danielle Pletka

John Podhoretz

Stephen Rademaker

Mitchell B. Reiss

Karl Rove

Jennifer Rubin

Randy Scheunemann

Gary Schmitt

Dan Senor

Ashley Tellis

Marc Thiessen

Daniel Twining

Peter Wehner

Kenneth Weinstein

Christian Whiton

Rich Williamson


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Top Opinion

  • jams 2009/09/18 18:40:01 (edited)
    Dear Obama:

    Although we did not win in a free and fair election, we still rule the world. As such we really, really need you to keep funding our bombs and our efforts to keep the price of poppies and oil down (meaning of course our patriotic duty to spread democracy).

    Yours truly,
    Neocon warriors for freedom and patriotism and you better believe it buster.

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  • Howard Beale II 2009/09/19 00:47:30
    Howard Beale II
    Unless the name-change also included a change in their raison d'etre, their self-stated purpose is to control the world through military domination and intimidation. The "catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor" they wished for in their September 2000 report came true exactly (and coincidentally?) as they had hoped, and all the subsequent predictions came true as well. As such, it comes as little surprise that they would make these kinds of "suggestions" to whoever sits in the Oval Office.
  • morning... Howard ... 2009/09/19 00:52:14
    morning40oz~mad as hell
    It's rather revealing, too, that the one who sits in the Oval Office isn't really the one running the show, isn't it? Of course, you and I already know that.
  • Howard ... morning... 2009/09/19 01:11:17
    Howard Beale II
    Enter Sarah Palin.
  • morning... Howard ... 2009/09/19 01:15:26
    morning40oz~mad as hell
    Yep, I figure, at the very least, she'll be offered up as a candidate in that illusion of choice we call an election. I didn't buy her stepping down from the governorship of Alaska one bit. The damn woman is in the news more now than during the election campaign. Still, people can't, or rather, they don't want to see that they're being played like a goshdamn fiddle.
  • Howard ... morning... 2009/09/19 01:42:21
    Howard Beale II
    Sometimes I wonder if people like you and I are not really the fools, for thinking that we can change human nature. Or trying to change it.

    People are ignorant. Hardly more intelligent than sheep, and will bite at the same bait for as long as fish continue biting at the same bait. They never learn. (Hermann Goering was right.) Maybe people do not learn any more at people school than fish learn in fish schools.
  • morning... Howard ... 2009/09/19 01:53:51
    morning40oz~mad as hell
    I was just telling another SH the other day, that I no longer fight for the sheep who don't care and don't wish to see the truth, much less seek it. It has always been a relative few who are the movers and shakers. If someone doesn't know where I stand, then he or she can't know that there is someone else out here who thinks the same way. As always, it will be the few who make a difference.

    In the words of Phaedrus, Vulgas vult decepi--the (common) people wish to be deceived. There was also an old Roman saying, "Those that would be deceived, let them." You can't rape the willing.
  • Howard ... morning... 2009/09/19 03:17:19
    Howard Beale II
    I often think that way too. And then a breeze blows in from the opposite direction, telling me that as one snowflake on a mountaintop, I am powerless, but together with all the other snowflakes, we could cause an avalanche. And then I realize that my job is to convince the other snowflakes that we have to have an avalanche. You and me, that is not quite enough critical mass for an avalanche. We have to herd the rest of the snowflakes -- or share their destiny.
  • jams 2009/09/18 18:40:01 (edited)
    Dear Obama:

    Although we did not win in a free and fair election, we still rule the world. As such we really, really need you to keep funding our bombs and our efforts to keep the price of poppies and oil down (meaning of course our patriotic duty to spread democracy).

    Yours truly,
    Neocon warriors for freedom and patriotism and you better believe it buster.
  • marvthemartian 2009/09/18 16:18:57
    Stop chasing a dead man and stop lying to Americans so you can further your agenda.
    Is there anything they won't do to feed their greed for power and money.

About Me

morning40oz~mad as hell

morning40oz~mad as hell

New Orleans, LA, US

2008/06/30 08:21:24

Commies to the Left, Fascists to the Right...Here I am ......Stuck in the middle...

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