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Military Families United Newsletter - 10/15/2009


War On Terror Update
Dear Military Families United Member and Supporter,

Our military IS fighting a War on Terror.  They are risking their lives every day to eradicate the Taliban and al-Qaeda threat and are leaving their families at home while they protect the security of our homeland. Many of you have loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan and understand the importance of supporting our troops and their mission. We at Military Families United believe that support for our troops means doing what it takes to achieve victory in Afghanistan – ensuring that it is a stable and sec ure country capable of removing terrorist safehavens, securing its borders, and helping its people.
Military Families United also believes that providing our members and supporters with information about the War on Terror will help you become a better advocate for our troops.  It is with this in mind that we are proud to bring you the Military Families United War On Terror Update.  This monthly e-newsletter will provide you with information on the policy decisions that America's military commanders and President Obama are making, the legislative action that Congress is taking, and several important media articles about these issues.
Military Families United is honored to be a resource for you and your family. As always, please feel free to send us your comments or suggestions.
Afghanistan Policy Update



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President Obama met again with his national security team on Monday to further discuss the way ahead, even as the debate grew louder outside the White House.  This is the President's second attempt to develop a strategy on Afghanistan this year.  In March, the President stated that a counterinsurgency strategy would be key to keeping Al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan, but according to news reports, the Administration did not consider the costs and resources needed to implement such a strategy.  General Stanley McChrystal, the Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, issued his recommendations weeks ago regarding the troops and resources he needs to fight and win the war in Afghanistan.  The White House has said it will make a decision in the next 2-3 weeks.
Military Families United is calling on the President to listen to the Generals with whom he has entrusted this vital mission and give them what they need to accomplish their objective. With every day that a decision is not made, U.S. troops, Afghan civilians, and our NATO allies die at the hands of the Taliban.
Legislative / Congressional Update

Congress is currently in the process of passing the annual Defense Appropriations bill, which provides funding for the Department of Defense and our conflicts overseas.  Military Families United has actively engaged Members of Congress and their staffs to educate them about critical weapons programs and ensure that our men and women in uniform have the resources and equipment they need to effectively defend our nation. 
The Senate passed their version of the bill on October 6, 2009, which must now be reconciled with the bill passed by the House of Representatives this summer.  The Senate bill added money for various projects like additional C-17 transport planes and more F/A-18 fighter jets, but also declined to extend the F-22 Raptor fighter, and cut large parts of the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS).  The bill also includes money for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Senate defense bill also includes a ban on “releasing” any accused enemy combatant into the United States, which passed with a vote of 93-7.  This would not, however, prohibit the president from transferring detainees to the United States.  The Senate also made changes to the Military Commissions Act of 2006, prohibiting evidence obtained through coercive methods, entitling detainees to call witnesses, and making it harder for the government to use hearsay evidence.  These changes could provide legal loopholes that may lead to terrorists being released from custody as free men (as in the case of Binyam Mohammed)
Media Update
As our country waits for President Obama to release his plan for the future of combat operations in Afghanistan, the media has given a great deal of attention to the war in Afghanistan. Below are just a few of the many articles that we believe are worth a read. For more articles and more information on the War on Terror please visit Military Families United's blog by clicking here.
October 13, 2009 – Obama's War – FRONTLINE: PBS Documentary and Analysis
In a war that has last eight years, what is the way forward?
*Note - Documentary contains graphic imagery
Read More
October 13, 2009 - Karzai says would welcome more American troops – Reuters 
WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday he supports U.S. General Stanley McChrystal's assessment on Afghanistan and would welcome more American troops.
McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, is advocating a beefed-up counterinsurgency strategy that would include deploying 40,000 additional troops next year.
"I'm fully behind him for what he is seeking in his report," Karzai said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Read More 
October 11, 2009 - Taliban cannot be split from al-Qaeda, Obama warned -  The Daily Telegraph (UK)
President Barack Obama's former chief advisor on Afghanistan has warned that it would be a "fairy tale" for the US to think it could split the Taliban away from al-Qaeda.
Read More

October 11, 2009 - Officials: Obama advisers are downplaying Afghan dangers –   McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — As the Obama administration reconsiders its Afghanistan policy, White House officials are minimizing warnings from the intelligence community, the military and the State Department about the risks of adopting a limited strategy focused on al Qaida , U.S. intelligence, diplomatic and military officials told McClatchy .
Read More


About Military Families United:
Military Families United serves as the nation's premier military family policy advocacy organization, representing more than 140,000 Gold and Blue Star families throughout the country and their loved ones who wear, or have worn, our nation's uniform. Military Families United was founded in the summer of 2008 as a not-for-profit, non-partisan 501c4 policy advocacy organization committed to supporting America's troops and their families.