Conservative Viewpoints

"Government is not the solution…it is the problem" -Ronald Reagan

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Bush: “We need to help Afghan government create jobs”

Posted by Stephen on February 15, 2007

In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, President Bush announced his intentions to send 3,200 additional troops to support the NATO efforts in Afghanistan.

Lost in the conversation of additional troops may be the emphasis the President placed on economic success in Afghanistan.

During the speech to the AEI, President Bush outlined economic progress in Afghanistan, how such success effects the people of the nation, and how such success is fundamental to progress.

“We need to help the Afghan government create jobs,” he said, “That’s critical to their success. When a young man is working, he’s less likely to be recruited by the Taliban. You see, he’s less interested in fighting, he’s less of a target for recruitment.”

The President discussed the need to put people to work building roads. “Building roads is important. Building roads leads to enterprise, entrepreneurship, and such success is the foundation for national success.”

During his speech, nearly 75 percent was spent discussing jobs and the economy of the third world nation trying to rebuild its infrastructure while solidifying the first democracy in its history.

Conversely, during his most recent State of the Union Speech, the President had approximately one line dedicated to the economy of Iraq while discussing troop increases in that country.

The question that begs to be asked is why is the discussion of economic strategies good for Afghanistan and not Iraq?

Why is the conversation surrounding Iraq dominated by discussion over troop movement when what is desperately needed is an economic plan that centers on putting Iraqi’s to work? Young Iraqis are just as much a target of the Taliban, militias, and insurgent groups in that country as they are in Afghanistan. Yet, little in the way of discussion in the public square centers on the plan to change the economic climate in Iraq.

At the same time, Iraq has more potential for economic success then Afghanistan if for no other reason then Iraq’s oil supply. The large amounts of black gold that exist in Iraq are being produced at a mere 30 percent of its potential, and could be used to fuel a mighty comeback by the country if the same aggression in economic planning in Afghanistan were being used in Iraq.

Sending additional troops to Iraq to secure violent and chaotic city streets can be a part of a successful plan. Equally true, however, is that sending additional troops without an economic plan as the center piece to success will lead to failure.

If building roads in the Afghan nation will lead to enterprise, then it could lead to full fledged success in Iraq, creating the best window for removal of American troops created to date. In Iraq young and old are clamoring for increased services, infrastructure and safety measures to protect those that are in a position to contribute to these economic successes.

Such needs can be provided by a work force poised and ready to become a productive contributor to the rebuilding effort in a country that should be looking to the future instead of fighting the demons of a past associated with tyranny and oppression.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.


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