WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Hare Plans to Visit Troops

Macomb, IL – Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) hopes to make a trip to Afghanistan in early December. Hare says he wants to meet with American troops who are over there.

"Get from them a perspective of what they're seeing on the ground," says Hare. "It's easy for someone to sit back and always be an armchair quarterback on this."

Hare is concerned that an early exit could lead to a genocide. But he's also concerned about sending more Americans into harm's way. He says if the US stays, it needs to commit enough troops to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Hare also points out the situation is complex because the nation is broken into tribal regions. In addition, he says it's likely most of Al-Qaeda is in Pakistan.

Hare says it costs the nation $1 billion for every 1,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Hare made his comments during an appearance at Western Illinois University.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says President Barack Obama wants to take the best elements from several options presented to him for the next steps in Afghanistan.

Gates says a decision could soon be made on whether to add more US forces. He confirmed to reporters aboard his plane Thursday that Obama did not choose any of the specific options laid out for him at a White House meeting on Wednesday.

At issue is how fully to answer Obama's war commander, who wants about 40,000 additional U.S. forces and a reworked strategy. Gates would not spell out details of the four options presented Wednesday.