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Chicopee John

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Obama Quietly Authorizes 13,000 More U.S. Troops for Afghanistan


In an unannounced move, the Pentagon is deploying thousands of support forces for the Afghanistan war.

FOXNews.com Tuesday, October 13, 2009


In an unannounced move, President Obama is dispatching an additional 13,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan beyond the 21,000 he announced in March, according to a published report.


The additional troops are primarily support forces -- such as engineers, medical personnel, intelligence experts and military police -- The Washington Post reported, bringing the total increase Obama has approved for the war-torn nation to 34,000.

"Obama authorized the whole thing. The only thing you saw announced in a press release was the 21,000," an unnamed defense official familiar with the process told the paper.


The report comes as Obama weighs a request from the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, for more combat, training and support troops, with several options including one for 40,000 more forces.


But the newspaper noted that the maximum number of U.S. service members expected in Afghanistan by year's end -- 68,000 -- would remain the same.

Major deployments of support troops have not been publicized by the Pentagon and the White House in the past. When former president George W. Bush announced a U.S. troop increase in Iraq, he only mentioned 20,000 combat troops and not the accompanying 8,000 support troops.

The troop increase approved by Obama brought the level of U.S. forces deployed in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters to a total greater than during the peak of the surge in Iraq in late 2007 and early 2008.


Top Republican senators have escalated their call for Obama to grant McChrystal's request for more troops in Afghanistan, and one prominent Democrat warned that a failure to do so could jeopardize U.S. forces.


The Obama administration is deep in deliberations over whether to build on its counterinsurgency strategy with thousands more troops in Afghanistan or focus more on taking out top Al Qaeda targets, particularly in Pakistan. The bloody clash this weekend at the Pakistan army headquarters, where commandos freed dozens of hostages early Sunday after militants attacked the facility, underscored the instability in the region.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the attack emphasized the "danger of the Taliban not only in Afghanistan but in Pakistan as well."

But he said any attempt by the administration to scale back the fight against the Taliban in favor of a tactical battle against Al Qaeda would damage security.

"They are different. But they are inter-connected," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation."


He said Republicans would "almost overwhelmingly support" the president if he opts to grant McChrystal's request for more troops, estimated to be for about 40,000.


Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said the counterinsurgency strategy pursued by McChrystal is "really critical." She said the American people don't have the stomach to stay in Afghanistan for another 10 years, but that the mission there is in "serious jeopardy" and Obama has an obligation to follow his commander's advice.


"I don't know how you put somebody in who was as crackerjack as General McChrystal, who gives the president very solid recommendations, and not take those recommendations if you're not going to pull out," Feinstein said on ABC's "This Week."


"If you don't want to take the recommendations, then you put your people in such jeopardy."


She suggested some elements of the Taliban could be won over, but warned that the Taliban in Afghanistan will have a "dramatic impact" on Pakistan if allowed to flourish.


Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the Taliban and Al Qaeda will become "inextricably tied."

McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the president is right to take his time and deliberate but that a failure to accept the advice of his military commanders would be "an error of historic proportions."


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Maybe this will make you feel better.


WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Pentagon said on Tuesday it had made no secret about the expanding US force in Afghanistan, despite a report suggesting troop numbers had been downplayed by the Obama administration.


The Defense Department had consistently said the number of US forces would reach 68,000 by the end of the year, a Pentagon spokesman said.


"Nothing's missing. Nothing's hidden," Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters.


His comments came after the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Obama had approved the deployment of 13,000 troops beyond the 21,000 he announced publicly in March.


But at least half of those 13,000 troops were authorized by former president George W. Bush, including a brigade from the 10th Mountain Division and an aviation brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division, Lapan said.


"Technically, did they all flow into Afghanistan under Obama's watch? Yes, but they have been approved previously," he said.

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I really don't care who authorized the 'surg', Heck, and I did say that I don't know if it was the right thing to do, or not.


As you've said in the past, this situation might just bite Obama in the butt.


If Obama does give McGreavy most, if not all, of what he asked for, what do you believe the overall reaction will be Heck. I am not sure how volitile the Wars are at this time.

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As for the decision, I think Obama is stuck. There's no good answer here. I don't think it's wise to turn down military advice on what it's going to take to achieve some sort of "secure state" objective in Afghanistan, whatever that ends up being. So you've either got to give them what they need, or you've got to change the policy.


Then again, have you ever heard a general say he couldn't achieve victory as long as you gave more time, money, and troops? They always say that. That doesn't mean we should give them to him if we don't think the benefits, should they be achievable, are worth the costs.


This isn't really like Iraq at all, but it is in one way: if we're prepared to mostly walk away, we've got to be prepared for the humanitarian crisis that follows as the Taliban reasserts their control over the countryside. I'm less worried about the "safe havens" argument, as I don't think it makes any sense, or that eliminating safe havens is an achievable objective. Plus, they're are plenty of safe havens in Pakistan, where most of Al Qaeda is. And you don't need a safe haven to plan a terrorist attack anyway.


But if we're going to send more troops and stay, we've got to be prepared to spend $90-$100 billion or so a year, watch the American death toll rise, and face the reality that our objectives may still not even be met.


It's not a decision that I'd like to make, especially without the military, diplomatic, and intelligence information that they're privy to.


So f'ck if I know what to do.

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