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Inouye backs Afghan strategy


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POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hawaii's Sen. Dan Inouye is strongly backing Gen. Stanley McChrystal's plan to build up American troops in Afghanistan.

Inouye, who returned yesterday from a weekend visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan, said he was convinced that the U.S. position is winnable.

“;The message I heard most clearly from our officers, our enlisted men and women, and our coalition and Afghan partners was their steadfast belief in the mission in front of them and their faith in the achievable goal of providing security and stability to the people of Afghanistan,”; Inouye said in a news release.

Inouye endorsed McChrystal's view that more troops and the proper strategy could win the war.

“;His focus on the population is a correct one. You can spend all the money in the world, but if the people aren't with you, then you're out of business.”;

“;This strategic approach will mean altering our military strategy to focus on counterinsurgency, building the capacity and capability of the Afghanistan security forces, working with Pakistan to remove safe havens for militants that threaten not only Pakistan's stability but also our efforts in Afghanistan, and ensuring that appropriate resources are provided to accomplish this goal,”; Inouye said.

During his short visit, Inouye said, he held meetings with McChrystal at Kandahar and Afghan President Hamid Karzai at Gul Khana Palace in Kabul. Inouye also traveled to Pakistan, where he met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his cabinet.

Inouye, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, promised to use the power of his chairmanship to approve any extra needed funds.

“;I will make certain that our men and women in uniform have everything they need to accomplish their mission. If, after further consultation and deliberation we decide we need 40,000 more troops or 50,000 more troops in Afghanistan, that's what we'll send but much more discussion has to take place before a final decision on troop levels can be made,”; Inouye said.

Inouye warned that a United States withdrawal from the region would harm national security.

“;It is my firm belief that if we leave now, the government of Afghanistan will not survive and the consequences will be detrimental to the region and will ultimately threaten the security of the United States.