In considering the article “President Cites Gains in 2 Wars” (12/15, A-1), I do not disagree that merits have been gained in both theaters. As a veteran of multiple tours in Iraq, I have seen firsthand the progress that has been made in providing stability and a new way of life to the Iraqi people.
However, I do have concerns regarding Afghanistan. Unlike Iraq, the culture and demographics are significantly different. The people are extremely provisional with more loyalty to their clan or ethnic group than to a government or country. A rapid “surge” of combat troops could be misconstrued by the rural population and stir up memories of the mistakes made by the Soviets in 1980s.
An optimal solution would be to provide additional military transition teams and advisers, using our soldier and civilian personnel, to the Afghanistan Army and government. This would continue our trend to best establish self-sufficiency by fostering their own independence.
Maj. Christoper R. Thompson
Student, Command and General Staff College