Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Afghanistan Speech is Tonight

President Obama's big speech on Afghanistan is this evening at West Point (Dana Milbank's column this morning focuses on the choice of setting: "Obama's flirtation with military imagery should be of concern to his allies on the left, who are already unhappy with the hawkish direction his Afghanistan policy has taken").

Obama will announce the deployment of approximately 30,000 additional US troops; my understanding is that an initial increase (7-10,000?) will occur almost immediately but the other new troops will be phased in over a couple of years. David Sanger and Peter Baker (in this morning's Times) describe what the new troops will be doing:
"The 30,000 new American troops will focus on securing a number of population centers in Afghanistan where the Taliban are strongest, including Kandahar in the south and Khost in the east ... The American forces will pair up with specific Afghan units in an effort to end eight years of frustrating attempts to build them into an independent fighting force."
In every discussion of the expansion of the war, the Administration talks about the end point/exit strategy more than they talk about why we need to supplement the current American force. This does not add up for me: if the focus is already on getting out, then why are we putting more soldiers in? Unless Obama's got an extremely well-reasoned explanation in tonight's speech, I don't see the the bulk of Americans agreeing with the new policy.

No comments:

Post a Comment