No, that’s not a typo. The outgoing US commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan says it would require 400,000 troops to secure that country.
ISAF Commander McNeill has said himself that according to the current counterterrorism doctrine, it would take 400,000 troops to pacify Afghanistan in the long term. But the reality is that he has only 47,000 soldiers under his command, together with another 18,000 troops fighting at their sides as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, and possibly another 75,000 reasonably well-trained soldiers in the Afghan army by the end of the year. All told, there is still a shortfall of 260,000 men.
Gen Dan McNeill is one of the straight-shooters of the US military, he says what he means and says it when it needs said. Four hundred thousand troops. As opposed to the less than 200,000 sent to Iraq for the Surge.
Worse, it costs the U. S. three times to maintain a soldier in Afghanistan that it costs it to maintain a soldier in Iraq. Consequently, the U. S.’s maintaining a force of 400,000 in Afghanistan would cost us nearly ten times what we’re spending in Iraq right now.
But as Brandon Freidman points out today, the alternative – what is happening right now – is that the US is losing on the central front of the poorly named “War On Terror”.
In terms of enemy fire, May 2008 was the second deadliest month of the war since hostilities began in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. This also marked the end of the deadliest 12-month period for U.S. troops in combat in Afghanistan since the war began nearly seven years ago.
1. We have just experienced the deadliest 12-month period of the war in Afghanistan in terms of hostile fire–by far.
99 Americans have been killed in action since 1 June 2007. The previous 12-month high was 70–between 1 June 2005 and 31 May 2006.
2. The hostile fire death rate for American troops in Afghanistan last month was four times that of Iraq.
One out of every 2,500 (.04 percent) Americans in Afghanistan died last month at the hands of the enemy. This is much higher than in Iraq, in which one out of every 10,000 (.01 percent) American troops died.
That hostile fire death rate is comparable with many of the worst months in Iraq during the Surge, when administration officials and military leaders were telling us to expect higher casualty rates – and yet there’s no Surge in Afghanistan.
Brandon, a veteran of the Afghan and Iraq wars, writes:
while conservative pundits and Bush Republicans are patting themselves on the back for the ebbing violence (relatively speaking, of course), these idiots have managed to give away the game in Afghanistan. Iraq is–and always has been–a distraction from the Real Global War on Terror, and now those chickens are coming home to roost. We can see it in the casualty rates. Osama bin Laden is still free and Ayman al-Zawahiri is too. Extremism is flourishing in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and it’s something that represents a much greater threat to the U.S. than does anything in Iraq. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker have said so themselves. After such a deadly year, that should be plain for anyone to see.
This is why John McCain must not be elected. We’re on the wrong track now with our primary focus on Iraq, and McCain aims to keep it that way. Because of his ignorance in terms of foreign policy and current events, McCain represents a severe threat to our national security–when we can least afford it.
Posted By Cernig
June 02, 2008