War Enters 9th Year, More Soldiers to Afghanistan

POSTED: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 - 8:52am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:57pm

Overnight a tearful goodbye in South Carolina as more than two hundred Airmen from the 79th Fighter Squadron left Sumter for Afghanistan. What is their mission?

This week the war enters its ninth year. NBC News Military Analyst Col. Jack Jacobs (Ret.) said, "Quite frankly neither the Defense Department nor the White House has actually decided what, strategically, it wants to do. As war protesters massed outside the White House, a spokesman said what won't happen now is pullout. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "That's not something that has ever been entertained."

President Obama has long said crushing Al Qaeda is the goal. But it was the Taliban claiming credit for Sunday's attack that killed eight soldiers. The Obama picked General McChrystal publicly wants more troops to push back. Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested this, "Provide our best advice to the President candidly but privately."

Central Commander David Petraeus claims that surgical strikes against Al Qaeda leaders have been successful in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. "There's actually been significant progress against top 20 level leaders," said Petraeus.

It's an anti-Al Qaeda strategy that President Obama could see as an alternative to expanding the war with more troops.