Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Trying to Win, I Hope

It looks like America will send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan, mostly to help our Afghan allies fight the Taliban jihadis:

The Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, a Trump administration official said Thursday, hoping to break a stalemate in a war that has now passed to a third U.S. commander in chief. The deployment will be the largest of American manpower under Donald Trump’s young presidency.

That's the floated number, anyway. I assume NATO will send some number lower than what we send.

Oh, and this is puzzling:

In 2009, Obama authorized a surge of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, bringing the total there to more than 100,000, before drawing down over the rest of his presidency.

Obama implemented two surges in 2009. Look at the troop numbers.

This chart shows the changes before the final Obama surge of 30,000 troops that brought our commitment to 100,000.

President Obama nearly tripled American troops in Afghanistan from the level under Bush in January 2009 when Bush left office. Why minimize what Obama ordered?

It's like the media wants to reduce Obama's role in the fight by minimizing his escalations that still left us with a losing war effort. Baldor and Burns should know better.

The excuse may be that the first surge of 2009 was "authorized" before Obama took office, following battlefield victory in Iraq. But have no doubt that if Obama did not agree with this surge, it would not have happened. The Bush plans were coordinated with the incoming Obama administration.

Remember, Bush fully intended to remain in Iraq after 2011. Obama reversed that goal.

Don't start the "quagmire" wailing with a small increase. I'm sorry that our jihadi enemies are persistent. Yet it is better to support hundreds of thousands of allied Afghan soldiers and police who fight and kill jihadis over there than it is to let the Afghan government fail or fall and claim the sole role in fighting jihadis who will have a big sanctuary to plot attacks on the West.

We really did reduce our presence far below what was necessary to support the Afghan forces, and they have lost ground to the Taliban and other jihadis.

And it would really help if our problem child Pakistan didn't work both sides of the war, undermining our effort to fight jihadis over there.

UPDATE: Related thoughts. With a reminder, as I've long noted, that Pakistan is where a large part of our Afghanistan problem lies.