Obama on Afghanistan: We Can't Just Walk Away

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WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama announced that after Thanksgiving he'll finally announce his long-awaited new strategy for Afghanistan, after months of deliberation.

The news came as the president hosted India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his administration's first state dinner.

The president talked of the growing partnership between the U.S. and India.

"The relationship between the United States and India will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century," Obama declared at Tuesday night's extravagant affair.

Earlier Tuesday, he focused on a big concern for both countries - the war in Afghanistan. Obama said America can't just walk away from the war in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

"It is in our strategic interests, in our national security interests to make sure that al Qaeda and its extremist allies cannot operate effectively in those areas," he said.

"We are going to dismantle and degrade their capabilities and ultimately dismantle and destroy their networks," he continued. "And Afghanistan's stability is important to that process."

One of the biggest questions is whether he'll give Afghan theater commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal the extra 40,000 troops he's asked for. White House watchers predict it'll be more like 34,000.

But at a cost of roughly $1 million per soldier in Afghanistan, that's still a huge investment for what some are calling an unwinnable war.

It's such a high cost, several politicians are proposing Americans feel the pain of it by being taxed for it with a special war tax.

"If this war is important enough to fight, it's important enough to pay for it," Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc., said.

"I think that would be a stated purpose of adding some additional income tax to the upper brackets, folks earning more than $200,000 or $250,000," Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. added.

The president says he's confident Americans will support his decision to stay and fight in Afghanistan when he fully lays out his goals and rationale next week.

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