The Cost of Obama's Expanded War in Afghanistan

The Washington Post reports the current cost of the war in Afghanistan is $2 billion a month.

Under the plan Obama will announce today, the cost will increase 60% this year. More details:

Along with the 17,000 additional combat troops authorized last month, he said, Obama will send 4,000 more this fall to serve as trainers and advisers to an Afghan army expected to double in size over the next two years.

My latest post on Obama's intent to ratchet up the drug war in Afghanistan is here.

I hope this is change the American people will make clear they don't believe in.

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    well, let's add this up, shall we? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:08:06 AM EST
    (2 billion x 12) x 1.60 (increased cost)= 38.4 billion a year after the surge. add that to the cost of his not being interested in legalizing pot, for reasons neither he nor his spokesperson ever actually made clear, and it's starting to get into some big dollars.

    frankly, it would be cheaper to just buy the poppy crop from the afghan farmers, then to spend the money to try and eradicate it. my suspicion is, they don't particularly care who buys it, as long as it gets bought.

    if the president or congress can give me no legitimate, fact based reason, for not legalizing pot, they have no business keeping it illegal.

    so far, i have yet to see a valid argument made by those parties.

    or even better (none / 0) (#6)
    by Bemused on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 07:24:55 AM EST
     pay them the market value of the poppies if they grow something valuable such as food or materials for bio-fuels.

    Or best... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:38:57 AM EST
    just leave the Afghans alone, let them make a living the best way they see fit, and wrap this occupation up sometime this decade.

    Besides, I don't think it is fair to wheat farmers if we pay Afghan farmer poppy prices for wheat.


    I no longer support expanding our (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:00:28 AM EST
    efforts in Afghanistan.  I was behind it when I thought that Obama was going to aggressively address the economy but I cannot and will not look at my fellow countrymen struggle and struggle and struggle and tell them we need to spend 2 billion a month in Afghanistan.  I think this sort of attitude that hints at an arrogance is going to lead to Obama's undoing, no second term if he doesn't wake up soon.

    Yep (2.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:23:18 AM EST
    me too. I originally supported expanding Afghanistan but I've read in a number of places that Kabul is getting ready to collapse soon and sending those troops may do nothing to halt this.

    Would you reconsider if the fight (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:34:30 AM EST
    appeared easier?  It wasn't something I factored in because I'm constantly surrounded by the All American Guts and Glory Crusaders and that would be considered factoring in for the wussies that we are NOT!!!! :)  I can't justify the costs and the toll taken.  I can't even begin to get my mind around it while my nation is only at the beginning of horrible back breaking financial struggles.

    Not really. (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:50:00 AM EST
    We just have too many problems here at home imo to continue "democratizing the world" no matter what country or how "virtuous" the war or occupation is.

    I had a discussion with a friend of mine and I told her, you know what? IF some thing did happen that we needed to go to war, who would believe them? We have been lied to so many times when it comes to war that you simply can't believe leaders anymore.


    I will never believe again.... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:57:33 AM EST
    I'd have to see a tank flying a foreign flag rolling down my street before I buy the need for war ever again....not that I bought the need for these 2, especially Iraq.  

    I was gonna say a jet dropping a bomb on my block too, but on second thought I would just assume it was one of ours, or one of our drones.


    Never have supported any of these wars (none / 0) (#42)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:53:32 PM EST
    If the reason for going back to Afghanistan was because we knew bin laden was there and we felt the need to find and capture him to put on trial, then maybe. But, to stop the poppy farmers because people in our country want to indulge in them? Since when is that a cause for war?

    Well, if you want to read something (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:27:29 AM EST
    completely incoherent on the war in Afghanistan, read David Brooks today in the NYT.  Here's a small sample:

    Second, we're already well through the screwing-up phase of our operation. At first, the Western nations underestimated the insurgency. They tried to centralize power in Kabul. They tried to fight a hodgepodge, multilateral war.

    Those and other errors have been exposed, and coalition forces are learning. When you interview impressive leaders here, like Brig. Gen. John Nicholson of Regional Command South, Col. John Agoglia of the Counterinsurgency Training Center and Chris Alexander of the U.N., you see how relentless they are at criticizing their own operations. Thanks to people like that, the coalition will stumble toward success, having tried the alternatives.

    Third, we've got our priorities right. Armies love killing bad guys. Aid agencies love building schools. But the most important part of any aid effort is governance and law and order. It's reforming the police, improving the courts, training local civil servants and building prisons.

    In Afghanistan, every Western agency is finally focused on this issue, from a Canadian reconstruction camp in Kandahar to the top U.S. general, David McKiernan.

    Brooks is pleased with the Obama plan:

    After the trauma in Iraq, it would have been easy for the U.S. to withdraw into exhaustion and realism. Instead, President Obama is doubling down on the very principles that some dismiss as neocon fantasy: the idea that this nation has the capacity to use military and civilian power to promote democracy, nurture civil society and rebuild failed states.

    Foreign policy experts can promote one doctrine or another, but this energetic and ambitious response -- amid economic crisis and war weariness -- says something profound about America's DNA.

    But...according to the Washington Post:

    Obama plans to announce a "simple, clear, concise goal -- to disrupt, dismantle and eventually destroy al-Qaeda in Pakistan," said the official, one of three authorized to anonymously discuss the strategy. The president will describe his plan in a White House speech to a group of selected military, diplomatic and development officials and nongovernmental aid groups.

    The officials declined to put dollar figures on aspects of the strategy other than the cost of U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan. Initial funding requests for hundreds of additional U.S. civilian officials to be sent there, as well as increased economic and development assistance to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, will come in a 2009 supplemental appropriation that the administration has not yet outlined.

    So, whatever the administration says will be spent in Afghanistan does not include efforts in Pakistan.

    I don't know, folks, this has all the hallmarks of a giant and expensive mess; keep an eye and an ear out for all the usual war cheerleaders - when we see Kristol and Kagan and and their ilk on Fox praising the plan, we will know for sure just how screwed we are.  And if Cheney likes it?  [shudders]

    There are two choices in Afghanistan... (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by sweetthings on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:05:33 AM EST
    We can leave, or we can ramp up. We can't keep doing what we have been doing. It's not working.

    Obama has always said he would ramp up, so this isn't a surprise. Personally, I'm torn. On the one hand, I'm tired of being the world's policeman, and I'm skeptical that we can accomplish something on the other side of the globe that the Russians couldn't manage in their own backyard. On the other hand, I'm not certain we can leave. We'll burn a ton of goodwill from allies all around the world if we do this. Afghanistan is not Iraq. Lots of people actually supported us with money and troops in that fight. Walking away from it now will have consequences.

    I think I can support one more effort. Hopefully they can get it right this time.

    Is this true? (none / 0) (#21)
    by dk on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:12:06 AM EST
    I'm not certain we can leave.  We'll burn a ton of goodwill from allies all around the world if we do this.

    I don't mean this to be snark.  I'm genuinely curious.  What is your evidence for this assertion?


    Look at who's fought and died in Afghanistan... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by sweetthings on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:20:53 AM EST
    It isn't like Iraq, where we basically bribed a "Coalition of the Willing" into supporting us. (and somehow guilted poor Blair into going along) French troops, German troops, Canadian troops, Danish troops, hell, even the Japanese are over there, and have been since the beginning. Anyone could see that Saddam was no threat to anyone outside of Iraq. By contrast, most European leaders see a failed Afghanistan as a threat...because they know that groups like Al Qaeda will move into that void, and are more likely to strike them than us.

    In Iraq, the world perceived us as a loose cannon operating under a rouge leader. (probably because we were) But in Afghanistan, we really were taking a leadership role in shaping a global action. Even 8 years later, it won't be easy to walk away from that role.


    I realize that the invasion of (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by dk on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:36:11 AM EST
    Afghanistan had support of many nations.  But your argument seems to be that if we draw down in Afghanistan now that we will lose the goodwill of these nations.  I guess I just don't see the obviousness of that connection.  I mean, just because those other nations supported the initial invasion with troops and money THEN, does that necessarily mean that we would lose our goodwill with them if we pulled out NOW?  Maybe that is true, but do you have any evidence that our allies are saying they would be mad at the US if the US were to pull out now?

    Of course they're not saying that. (none / 0) (#26)
    by sweetthings on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:39:00 AM EST
    Because we're not even talking about pulling out...quite the opposite, actually. But yes, I believe that they would start to complain if we started talking seriously about pulling out.

    Remember, for all our rage at 9-11, Europe has gotten hit by Al Qaeda more often and more recently. Nobody in power wants to give those guys another safe house, which is exactly what a lawless Afghanistan would be.


    This is not true (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:49:23 AM EST
    Many allies that went with us want a different solution now.  Canada, who has fought and died side by side with us where many NATO countries have not even allowed their troops to be used for combat, would like to go home now.

    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by sweetthings on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:45:31 PM EST
    Harper's made a speech about that, has he?

    No, he hasn't - as I'm sure you know. Harper remains committed to the mission in Afghanistan - as does the Canadian parliament.

    The Canadian populace is starting to grow restless, but the government remains strong in it's support.


    Sorry but you're wrong (none / 0) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02:21:25 PM EST
    And I know this based on what I have to deal with in real life but here is Time Mag.

    After a heated and long-overdue domestic debate, the Canadian Parliament last month voted to keep its soldiers in Afghanistan until 2011--with the provisos that Canadian forces be reinforced by 1,000 troops from elsewhere and that Canadian forces concentrate less on combat and more on training Afghan security forces. When finally consulted in earnest, Canadians concluded that the financial and human costs of the mission were in fact worth bearing, at least for now. That's the good news. The bad news is that unlike Canada, few other NATO countries have begun to grapple with the urgency of 21st century threats or the sacrifices needed to deal with them. The avoidance of these topics allows European politicians to shirk tough questions and deprives them of the opportunity to educate their people about the security and humanitarian stakes in Afghanistan and beyond--stakes that will need to be embraced if collective security arrangements are to remain more than notional.

    Canada has a timeline now.

    And the beginning of yesterday's WAPO story that acknowledges that our allies aren't so committed to this Afghanistan thing anymore.

    After years of often testy cooperation with NATO and resentment over unequal burden-sharing, the United States is taking unabashed ownership of the Afghan war.

    Aren't you making my point for me? (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by sweetthings on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02:42:01 PM EST
    Even Canada is willing to sit it out for another 2 years, with the possibility of staying even longer. 2 years is a long time. I'll wager to say that if things in Afghanistan haven't improved in 2 years, even US politicians are going to start to get cold feet. I know I will.

    Obama is trying to make a push NOW, not two years from now. He still has the support of most of the world's governments on this. Harper's is behind him. Sarkozy's behind him. Merkel's behind him. Brown's behind him. Of course the US is taking a larger role...Obama promised that from the beginning. Heck, if you ask me, one of the irresponsible things Bush did was to leave Afghanistan to simmer while he played Crusader in Iraq.

    I'm willing to give Obama one shot at the apple. Only one, though.


    No I'm not making your point for you (none / 0) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02:49:21 PM EST
    If Canada thought we had to win this, why aren't they committing more troops than the 2,800 they have there already and why now present us with a timeline?  It would be very unkind to just leave us high and dry at the start of a new administration and it is never a good idea for Canada to utterly ditch the U.S. so they did what they could and put us on notice.  Who is committing to win this with us?  Nobody is, it's looking like just us.  Afghanistan is in pretty serious shape too right now and if we hope to make a dent we have to committ a whole lot more troops than what he is talking about lately, or use a lot of airstrikes and lots of collateral damage and I'm not for that either.  I don't know what this adminstration is thinking but the current ramp up is paltry given the state that Afghanistan is in right now if we really have to win this and we care about civilians.

    your point is valid (none / 0) (#27)
    by Bemused on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:39:28 AM EST
      but you should consider the possibility  Obama has better sources of information as to what our allies think than media reports available to people passing time on the internet.

    Perhaps, though (none / 0) (#30)
    by dk on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:11:04 AM EST
    I am not certain why such information generally (i.e. whether our allies want us to ramp up in Afghanistan) would be, or would need to be, so confidential.  

    Frankly, I haven't been keeping up much with foreign public opinion concerning US presence in Afghanistan.  But I do think that if Obama expects public support for a ramp up, and if this is an important reason behind his ramp-up strategy, that he should provide evidence to the American people of this potential loss of goodwill.


    How many more troops and how much money (3.50 / 2) (#23)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:32:15 AM EST
    are the French, Germany, Canada and the Danes etc. willing to contribute now and in the foreseeable future to WIN in Afghanistan?

    If they are willing to make a TOTAL commitment of national treasure, then maybe they should expect the same from us. Otherwise, then IMO they need not expect us to do what they are unwilling to do.


    Fair has nothing to do with it. (none / 0) (#25)
    by sweetthings on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:36:22 AM EST
    This is international politics we're talking about. Notions like 'fair' don't enter the picture, except as window dressing. It's all just costs and benefits.

    And the costs of leaving Afghanistan will be high indeed. Of course, so will the costs of staying.


    Don't see the word "fair" (none / 0) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:25:58 AM EST
    in my statement.

    Either Europe has a vested interest in depriving the Taliban and al-Qaida of a safe haven in Afghanistan or not. The question of cost and benefits is not exclusive to the U.S. It is past time for the U.S. to reevaluate what falls under our financial and military responsibility and what needs to be a shared responsibility.

    Also, staying in Afghanistan indefinitely will not prevent the U.S. from losing goodwill from allies all around the world. There are global cost and benefits of the U.S. being fiscally irresponsible (continuing to spend of $$$ we don't have on wars) also .


    Certainly. (none / 0) (#40)
    by sweetthings on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:43:06 PM EST
    Staying in Afghanistan carries a heavy cost, no doubt. I'm skeptical of the mission myself. I'm just pointing out that leaving carries costs too.

    Personally, I think I'm up for one last stab at trying to bring Afghanistan under control. If that fails, well, I think we'll simply have to count our losses and go home.


    I agree with sweetthings on this (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:46:52 AM EST
    But sweetthings does not approach the fact that the world that went with us to Afghanistan is also talking about needing to go home and questioning whether or not they need to do anymore in Afghanistan than what they have already done.

    The debate abroad... (none / 0) (#39)
    by sweetthings on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:41:18 PM EST
    Is much the same as the debate here. The populace is tired of sending troops to a lawless region far away. The leadership sees a need to continue doing so.

    Note that you haven't heard Sarkozy or Stephen Harper or even Merkel talking about the need to leave Afghanistan. They, like Obama, feel it is a fight we need to win.

    Which subgroup is correct remains to be seen.


    Most of the NATO countries do not (none / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02:31:03 PM EST
    fight with us.  They aren't in combat with us and those that were are not joining us in committing more forces.  Most nations have prohibited the involvement of their troops to include combat.....actual fighting to win, therefore I find your assertions that everyone is onboard with us a bit absurd.

    Well, that all depends on how you read... (none / 0) (#48)
    by sweetthings on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02:44:26 PM EST
    the phrase 'on-board.' ;)

    They're on-board with us cleaning up Afghanistan, because they realize that the nation desperately needs it, and they realize that a lawless Afghanistan poses a threat to everyone, not just the US.

    Of course, they're also on-board with letting us pick up the check. (metaphorically speaking, of course.)


    Well (4.50 / 2) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 05:40:14 AM EST
    he now owns Iraq and Afghanistan so he's going to be responsible for whatever happens there.

    He's the president (none / 0) (#7)
    by Bemused on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 07:28:01 AM EST
    He's now responsible for it all, including problems he inherited. But, in assigning credit or blame, it is only fair to distinguish between things he inherited and things he initiated.

    Frankly (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 07:58:58 AM EST
    there is going to come a point where no one is going to care that he inheirited it. I'm tired of him making excuses and stating the obvious. The irony is that the talks about how Bush was bad (which he was) but then he conintues the same policies.

    for some, evidently, (none / 0) (#10)
    by Bemused on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:09:59 AM EST
      we've already passed that point. I recognize that as reality but don't have  to think it is fair to Obama or good judgment by those so inclined.

      He's been president slightly more than 2 months and inherited 2+ wars and an economic meltdown. that world peace and proseperity have not been achieved yet is something for which I'll cut him a litlle slack. In fact, even if he is President for 8 years and leaves office in a world still largely lacking peace and prosperity, I'll still judge him with an open mind rather than label him a failure.

      I might well label him a failure, but not merely because he didn't achieve everything I want or even because he fell short of his own goals. Fair assessment requires a broader and more contextual view than whether or not he gives an indivdual or group  what he or it wants when he or it wants it


    Here's my (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:19:55 AM EST
    point: all this was known. None of this is a suprise. Those wars have been going on for years. The economic problems have been known for years hence I have a huge problem with the constant whining about how he "inheirited" these problems. If he didn't want to deal with these problems then he shouldn't have run for president. It's that simple.

    I don't expect him to have solved these problems but I also don't understand why he keeps promoting GOP solutions that have failed time again as what is needed.


    I agree (none / 0) (#13)
    by Bemused on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:24:23 AM EST
     insofar as if he didn't want the responsibility inheriting these issues entails he should not have run.

      I also agree that so far SOME his positions (albeit including positions on paramount issues) represent very little departure.


    Wow, how "progressive"... (3.50 / 2) (#2)
    by txpolitico67 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:29:28 AM EST
    I am soooo glad I didn't vote for him.  My conscience is clear.  REAL progressives would NEVER move forward with this kind of action OR support it.  Depleting the treasury for more failed wars....beyond the pale.

    I wonder how the neo-lib/Kos kids class can square this action.   Oh I forogt.  It's okay.  It's Obama.


    this has nothing to do with the election (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:42:02 AM EST
    And Obama is far better than the alternative. Let's move beyond that old argument and try to be constructive in our criticism. There's no need to throw the baby out with the bath water every time the President makes a decison we disagree with. How about trying to show him why he's wrong instead of attacking him?

    I voted for him, I supported him and I still support him, even though I disagree with some of his policies. A McCain presidency or a Republican dominated Congress, whether it happened because disenchanted Dems threw away their vote or couldn't get over an ax to grind, would be unbearable.

    So please be constructive in your criticism. If you hate Obama, or are sorry he was elected over McCain, there are plenty of other sites you will find more sympatico to your point of view. This is not one of them.


    Oakland California (1.00 / 1) (#36)
    by micee04 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 11:37:27 AM EST
    Obama needs to go to the heart of Oakland California and do a town hall meeting. All the African Americans in Oakland played a part in making him president and they deserve his time and effort. They are turning the criminal who shot the 4 cops into a HERO as it should be. And he needs to go to Oakland and explain to them that he understand why we support the Criminal. He is suppossed to be on our side and stop talking to the white people and talking like a white man. He did not run for President as a "White" man he ran as a proud Black Man! He needs to understand and Michelle how the four white cops deserved what they got fro picking on the black man!  This is now BLACK America no longer White America!

    please don't post off topic comments (none / 0) (#45)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02:29:53 PM EST
    To the tune of.... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:40:47 AM EST
    Bone Thugs & Harmony's "First of Tha Month"...

    Wake up wake up wake up...it's 2 billion a month...wake up wake up.

    Obama now owns Afghanistan; he's adding Pakistan-- (none / 0) (#28)
    by jawbone on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:44:18 AM EST
    He has apparently acquiesced to the Pentagon ruse of relabeling many US combat troops in Iraq as non-combat troops, meaning they can stay in Iraq. So he owns the Iraq War by choice as well as by inheritance from BushCo.  He owns the Afghanistance War, again both by choice, a choice he at least told the electorate about early on, and inheritance. He seems to have declared a not-so-secret war in Pakistan today, which is his choice.

    It's a trifecta!

    He may think of it as just one war, the Af-Pak War, but by broadening the war and specifically saying he will go after Al Qaeda to wipe them out he's adding a Pakistan War-- since that's where he thinks Al Quaeda is now.

    Nixon thought he could just expand US military might by air and secretly by ground into Cambodia and he would help the US and South Vietnam to win the war in Vietnam. But this destabilization of Cambodia lead to Cambodia becaming an abattoir, filled with killing fields.

    I have no solid prediction of what US intervention into Pakistan will lead to, but I doubt it will be good.

    Is this a continuation of Bush/Cheney's "creative destruction"? That by messing around with Pakistan's stability there may be changes beneficial to, oh, Big Oil and the US thirst for oil? Better empire? Being a great war president?

    Can't be, right? Bcz Obama will fight global warming and work to limit greenhouse gasses? Right?

    I feel very, very sad today.

    (To me Hillary did not look happy; wonder if she thinks she made the right decision to leave her senate seat....)

    Will Obama's civilian corps become prime targets? (none / 0) (#29)
    by jawbone on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:47:09 AM EST
    For kidnapping, other terrorism?

    Link on relabeling combat troops in Iraq (none / 0) (#31)
    by jawbone on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:16:35 AM EST
    Obama is now Bush! (none / 0) (#35)
    by micee04 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 11:33:17 AM EST
    Obama is now BUSH! Big spending Gigantic WAR! I give him less than a year and he will reinstate the draft. How long will it be before Michelle turns into Laura? He is more Bush than Bush!

    WTF (none / 0) (#37)
    by Grayghost on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:33:15 PM EST
    If this how Black America feels, then we have not made any progress at all.  

    I suspect that is actually (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Bemused on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:35:27 PM EST
     a guy about as white as they get.

    Still Unclear (none / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 01:08:44 PM EST
    According to close observers, the key debate in the White House is whether the United States and NATO should wage a counterinsurgency campaign--securing the Afghan population, helping to provide basic services, and thus strengthening support for the government--or whether we should devote most of our resources to going after al-Qaida terrorists directly. Obviously, any plan will wind up doing at least a bit of both; the debate is over priorities and emphasis.

    More here

    It is still unclear from the WaPo article which of the two plans Obama will deploy.

    The advocates for a more purely counterterrorist (or CT) approach--led forcefully by Vice President Joe Biden--point out that, after all, we're in Afghanistan only because of al-Qaida and therefore we should focus on that threat and leave the rest to the Afghans. Yes, we should offer them aid and assistance, but neither their economic development nor the survival of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's regime should be what our troops are fighting and dying for.

    The counterinsurgency (or COIN) advocates argue that only through their approach can al-Qaida and the Taliban be defeated. Hunting and killing terrorists has its place, but in the long run it only gives the enemy the initiative, lets them melt away into the landscape, and does little to stop new recruits from taking their place. The best way to keep al-Qaida at bay is to dry up its support by earning the trust of the civilian population, building roads, creating jobs, and striking power-sharing deals with tribal elders.

    And Pakistan? (none / 0) (#49)
    by desertswine on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02:45:47 PM EST
    What's they're plan for Pakistan? If there still is one when they get through. They are not separate problems.

    Just Out: Obama's Plan (none / 0) (#52)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 03:05:00 PM EST
    Seems like it is COIN more than CT. We'll see:

    So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That is the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: we will defeat you.


    A campaign against extremism will not succeed with bullets or bombs alone. Al Qaeda offers the people of Pakistan nothing but destruction. We stand for something different. So today, I am calling upon Congress to pass a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by John Kerry and Richard Lugar that authorizes $1.5 billion in direct support to the Pakistani people every year over the next five years - resources that will build schools, roads, and hospitals, and strengthen Pakistan's democracy. I'm also calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Maria Cantwell, Chris Van Hollen and Peter Hoekstra that creates opportunity zones in the border region to develop the economy and bring hope to places plagued by violence. And we will ask our friends and allies to do their part - including at the donors conference in Tokyo next month.

    FP Magazine

    The white paper


    i might consider being (none / 0) (#51)
    by cpinva on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 02:57:30 PM EST
    supportive of pres. obama's actions, vis-a-vis afghanistan, if i had the least idea of what the actual plan is. if there even is a plan.

    similar to pres. bush, there doesn't seem to be a well thought out, coherent plan of action for either afghanistan or iraq. just throwing more troops, material and supplies in doesn't constitute a plan.

    i don't need all the nitty gritty details, an outline will suffice.

    Plan (none / 0) (#53)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 03:06:03 PM EST
    okee dokee, i read them both. (none / 0) (#54)
    by cpinva on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 11:48:32 PM EST
    i am..............underwhelmed. all this is supposed to be accomplished by sending an additional 30k troops over there?

    if anyone really believes that's possible, i have shares in AIG, Bear-Stearns and Lehman Bros. for sale, at par. *

    * i was going to offer shares in the brooklyn bridge. however, the market on them is looking up.


    Where are all the Democrats? (none / 0) (#55)
    by Iamme on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 04:43:44 PM EST
    Where are all the Democrats in this thread?  If this was a Bush thing it would be "oh my god" More troops more money, he is terrible.  I thought Obama said he would bring the troops home during his campaign.  

    Hmm.  I get it.  If I send more troops and more money we will get out quicker.  OK.  The math doesnt add up.  

    Pay them not to do the wrong thing?  Has the world gone loopy?  Pay me not to drink and drive.  Pay me not to do about a thousand things I dont do today.  And we wonder how we got in this economic crisis.  Dont even say it was all Bush's fault.  The Democrats ran the house and senate the last two years of his presidency.  Blame them all or blame none of them.