President Obama plans an address to the American public Tuesday concerning the war in Afghanistan. He is expected to grant military leaders’ request of a troop increase.
Polls show support for the war has dropped significantly since Obama took office. A majority in some polls now say that they oppose the war and that it is not worth fighting.
U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina told CNN he has been praying for the President.
“I applaud him for taking his time with this decision,” says Clyburn. “This is something he must be comfortable with, irrespective of what the polls may be saying. President Obama on Tuesday night will take possession of this conflict in Afghanistan and he must comfortable with the direction that it takes.”
The top general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, has asked the president for about 40,000 troops. He says a strong surge is the best way to end the war.
Administration officials have said the President has not made a final decision about the number of troops he would approve. Some officials expect the total troops approved to be between 32,000 and 35,000.
Obama said last week that he believes the public will support his strategy once they understand it.
The plan won’t likely be an easy sell to some of the President’s democratic colleagues in congress. The Afghan war bill hit $43 billion annually over the summer. Obama previously added 21,000 forces. The surge could cost up to $75 billion a year.
Clyburn says it’s time to start paying for the war. “The fact of the matter is, if we want to pay for everything else, roads and bridges and everything else,” says Clyburn, “we ought to be paying for this war. The problem we have in our society today is that we undertook this effort in Afghanistan, then went off dithering, if you please, in Iraq.”
Clyburn says it’s time to pay for the war. He says when the U.S. war effort focused on Iraq, it pulled away from the original focus that congress agreed to.
“The only people making sacrifices are those people on the battlefield,” says Clyburn. “We should get serious about making the necessary sacrifices right here at home, and paying for this war.”
Paying for the upsurge in troops is the concern of outspoken Senator Lindsey Graham. Appearing on ABC This Week, Graham said, “I’d like to see an endeavor to see if we can cut current spending and find some dollars that we’re spending today to pay for the war, and prioritize American spending,” Graham said. “Where does our national security rate in terms of spending? Are there things that we can do in the stimulus package? Can we trim up the health care bill and other big-ticket items to pay for a war that we can’t afford to lose?”