Gates: Afghan Failure Means 'Civil War'
Troop surge is necessary to transition to humanitarian role
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 2, 2009 2:12 PM CST
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, prepare to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Defense chief Robert Gates and other members of the Obama administration took to Capitol Hill today to sell President Obama's plan to send 30,000 additional troops. "Failure in Afghanistan would mean a Taliban takeover of much, if not most, of the country and likely a renewed civil war," Gates told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Taliban-ruled areas could in short order become, once again, a sanctuary for al-Qaeda."

A skeptical Chairman Carl Levin said the surge "will put more US Marines on street corners in Afghan villages, with too few Afghan partners." And John McCain objected to Obama's emphasis on getting out in 3 years. Said Hillary Clinton: "I do not believe we have locked ourselves into leaving. But what we have done ... is to signal very clearly to all audiences that the United States is not interested in occupying Afghanistan."