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Obama’s Afghan Escalation

December 26, 2008
Robert Dreyfuss

True enough, Barack Obama has pledged to support a “surge” in US forces in Afghanistan, as bad an idea as that might be. (See my article, “Obama’s Afghan Dilemma,” in The Nation.) But the latest from Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a shock, and outrageous. Mullen said, without even a nod to Obama’s role as incoming commander-in-chief, that he’s planning to double US forces there by adding up to 30,000 new troops.

It’s hard to ready this any other way than the worst way, however: that Mullen is speaking with Obama’s (unspoken) approval. During the campaign season, and since, Obama said that he’d send “at least two or three additional combat brigades” to Afghanistan, which ought to mean something like another 10,000 forces or so. But 30,000 is a huge escalation.

Currently, the US has something like 32,000 troops in that hell-hole, including 14,000 under a rickety NATO coalition. Mullen’s plan would send at least four combat brigades and thousands of additional support forces.

For the rest of the story …..

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