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Thread: 30,000 more troops set to go to Afghanistan

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    Elite Member NicoleWasHere's Avatar
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    Thumbs down 30,000 more troops set to go to Afghanistan

    US to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan

    President Barack Obama will on Tuesday announce he is sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan within six months in a swift surge but limit the duration of their deployment, a US official said.

    The official, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of Obama's nationwide address on his new Afghan war strategy later on Tuesday, said that the president would insist on establishing a "back-end" to the new deployment.

    The president had decided that plans for a slower ramp up of extra US troops for the gruelling eight-year war would not work, so he had ordered a much swifter influx of troops, the official said.

    The length of the deployment of the extra US troops, which will take the total US deployment in Afghanistan to 100,000, was not immediately clear.

    AFP 2009

    US to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan


    Change. Honestly, when is this shit going to stop?

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    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    MSNBC.com
    Administration outlines Afghan war endgame

    Official: U.S. troops will start leaving region 'well before' end of first term
    NBC News and news services
    updated 10:35 a.m. PT, Tues., Dec . 1, 2009

    WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan over six months, an accelerated timetable with an endgame built in that would have the first Marines there as early as Christmas, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.

    U.S. troops are expected to start leaving the region "well before" the end of Obama's first term, the AP reported Tuesday. A senior government official told NBC contributor Col. Jack Jacobs that the president believes that a transition from American-led combat to Afghan leadership of the effort will begin in July 2011.

    With the full complement of new troops expected to be in Afghanistan by next summer, the heightened pace of Obama's military deployment in the 8-year-old war appears to mimic the 2007 troop surge in Iraq, a 20,000-strong force addition under former President George W. Bush. Similar in strategy to that mission, Obama's Afghan surge aims to reverse gains by Taliban insurgents and to secure population centers in the volatile south and east parts of the country.

    In a prime-time speech to the nation Tuesday night from West Point that ends a 92-day review, Obama will seek to help sell his much bigger, costlier war plan by tying the escalation to an exit strategy, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    By laying out a rough timeframe and some dates for when the main U.S. military mission would end, as well as emphasizing stepped-up training for Afghan forces, the president was acknowledging the increasingly divided public opinion over continued American participation in the stalemated war.

    "We want to as quickly as possible transition the security of the Afghan people over to those national security forces in Afghanistan," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told ABC's "Good Morning America." "This can't be nation-building. It can't be an open-ended forever commitment."

    With U.S. casualties in Afghanistan sharply increasing and little sign of progress, the war Obama once liked to call one "of necessity," not choice, has grown less popular with the public and within his own Democratic party. In recent days, leading Democrats have talked of setting tough conditions on deeper U.S. involvement, or even staging outright opposition.

    The displeasure on both sides of the aisle was likely to be on display when congressional hearings on Obama's strategy get under way later in the week on Capitol Hill.

    In his speech and in meetings overseas in the coming days, Obama also will ask NATO allies to contribute more between 5,000 and 10,000 new troops to the separate international force in Afghanistan, diplomats said.

    One official from a European nation said the troop figure was included in an official NATO document compiled on the basis of information received from Washington ahead of Obama's announcement. The NATO force in Afghanistan now stands at around 40,000 troops.

    The 30,000 new U.S. troops will bring the total in Afghanistan to more than 100,000 U.S. forces by next summer. New infusions of U.S. Marines will begin moving into Afghanistan almost as soon as Obama announces a redrawn battle strategy.

    The president's long-awaited troop increase had been envisioned to take place over a year, or even more, because force deployments in Iraq and elsewhere make it logistically difficult, if not impossible, to go faster. But Obama directed his military planners to make the changes necessary to hasten the Afghanistan additions, said the official, who declined to be publicly identified because the formal announcement of details was still pending.

    Officials were not specific on the withdrawal date that Obama has in mind nor the changes the military will be required to make to get the troop deployments into Afghanistan on the president's new, speedier timeline.

    Military officials said at least one group of Marines is expected to deploy within two or three weeks of Obama's announcement, and would be in Afghanistan by Christmas. This initial infusion is a recognition by the administration that something tangible needs to happen quickly, military officials said.

    The new Marines would provide badly needed reinforcements to those fighting against Taliban gains in the southern Helmand province. They also could lend reassurance to both Afghans and a war-weary U.S. public.

    Obama's announcement comes near the end of a year in which the war has worsened despite the president's infusion of 21,000 forces earlier this year. He began rolling out his decision Sunday night, informing key administration officials, military advisers and foreign allies in a series of private meetings and phone calls that stretched into Monday.

    Previewing a narrative the president is likely to stress, Gibbs told ABC that the number of fresh troops don't tell the whole story. Obama will emphasize that Afghan security forces need more time, more schooling and more U.S. combat backup to be up to the job on their own.

    "We're going to accelerate going after al-Qaida and its extremist allies," Gibbs said. "We'll accelerate the training of an Afghan national security force, a police and an army."

    In Kabul, Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the new head of a U.S.-NATO command responsible for training and developing Afghan soldiers and police, said Tuesday that although the groundwork is being laid to expand the Afghan National Army beyond the current target of 134,000 troops, to be reached by Oct. 31, 2010, no fixed higher target is set.

    There is a notional goal of eventually fielding 240,000 soldiers and 160,000 police, but Caldwell said that could change.

    "Although that is a goal and where we think it could eventually go to, it's not a hard, firm, fixed number," he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

    He indicated that one reason for avoiding a hard-and-fast commitment to those higher numbers is the expected cost. So his orders are to reach the targets of 134,000 soldiers and 96,800 police by next October. He intends to hold annual reviews, beginning next spring or early summer, to determine whether the notional higher targets of 240,000 soldiers and 160,000 police for a combined total of 400,000 by 2013 are still the right goals for Afghanistan.

    "If you grow it up to 400,000 if you did grow all the way to that number, and if it was required to help bring greater security to this country then of course you have to sustain it at that level, too, in terms of the cost of maintaining a force that size," he said. Nearly all the cost of building Afghan forces has been borne by the U.S. and other countries thus far.

    Obama also will make tougher demands on the governments of Pakistan and, especially, Afghanistan.

    The Afghan government said Tuesday that President Hamid Karzai and Obama had an hourlong video conference. Obama was also going to speak with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

    In Afghanistan, rampant government corruption and inefficiency have made U.S. success much harder. Obama was expected to place tough conditions on Karzai's government.

    Obama was spending much of Monday and Tuesday on the phone, outlining his plan minus many specifics for the leaders of France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China, India, Denmark, Poland and others. He also met in person at the White House with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

    A briefing for dozens of key lawmakers was planned for Tuesday afternoon, just before Obama was set to leave the White House for the speech against a military backdrop.

    Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    URL: Administration outlines Afghan war endgame - White House- msnbc.com

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    2009 MSNBC.com

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    30,000 is less than I thought. I figured it would be between 35-40,000. But with a total of 100,000 troops, I'm glad Obama is planning an exit strategy. He damn well needs one with that many troops.

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    Ok. Shouldn't this be kinda kept quiet? I mean did the Romans announce any of their invasions?

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    Don't worry, troops are supposed to start moving out of there in summer of 2011, just in time for re-election campaign strategies!

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    ^^ My thoughts exactly, you old cynic you. Great campaign slogan- I've brought them home. Don't know how smart that is, because if he doesn't keep to it, he risks the election

    Strategically giving a time line to get out is stupid. All they need to do is kill as many soldiers as they can in the interim, hide out in the mountains, and wait to take the country back when the coalition pulls out.



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    Quote Originally Posted by celeb_2006 View Post
    Don't worry, troops are supposed to start moving out of there in summer of 2011, just in time for re-election campaign strategies!
    That crossed my mind, too. The troops should be coming home from Iraq in 2011, too.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Three Big Questions About Obama's Afghanistan Plan

    A few thoughts in advance of the big speech--which I will be writing about tonight--based on the details now coming into focus.

    1) The White House is stressing that this is not an open-ended commitment. It is also stressing that there is no time line for withdrawal, either. [Update: CNN is reporting that Obama will set a goal of ending the war in three years. See more at bottom. Update #2: The White House is now denying that report. Sheesh.] At best, these two assertions are in tension. In Iraq, Obama seemed to decide that "winning" was no longer worth the cost. When it comes to Afghanistan, he takes the opposite view: that this is a war of necessity, and we have to git r done. Even if Obama sets various goals and benchmarks for progress, then, we have to ask: What happens if those goals aren't met? Obviously there will be some reassessment down the road. But if this fight is as important as he seems to think, the proper response to slow progress--again, if you believe this battle has to be won--is not to ramp down but to ramp up even more.

    2) Is he sure to get the war funding he needs from Congress? Liberal opposition to the war is only mounting, and Nancy Pelosi reportedly made an extremely foolish promise to her caucus earlier this year that they would not be asked to vote for another war funding bill. Obama will likely need some Republican support to get him over the hump. I assume he'll get it--I hope even the Palin-Limbaugh GOP isn't so Machiavellian as to find excuses to sabotage Obama on the war--but it may well get ugly. Also, look for liberals in Congress to try and attach all sorts of strings to the funding, including exit time lines of their own.

    3) Honesty: As a candidate, Obama often said America needed a president who told the people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Will tonight's speech make clear how long, painful and costly his renewed commitment to Afghanistan could be? Will he be realistic about how hard it is to train up large numbers of Afghan soldiers and police? And will be be frank about our need to demonstrate a lasting (and expensive, and frustrating) commitment to nuclear-armed Pakistan? Indeed, will he make clear that this entire adventure is as much about neighboring Pakistan, about which most Americans know close to zilch, as it is Afghanistan and the hunt for bin Laden and his compatriots? Those are some of the questions I'll be asking when I listen tonight.

    Update: Given that the new troop number has been leaking for days, a three-year time line for wrapping up the war--CNN describes it as a target time frame "to conclude the war and withdraw most U.S. service members"--would be the big news from tonight's speech. But the question remains how firm that time line is. Will Obama exit no matter what? Even his Iraq exit plan has always been contingent on conditions on the ground (and the deadline has already slipped once). Listen very closely for any loopholes Obama creates to grant himself the flexibility to stay. He may be determined to give it three years and, if it's not doable by then, simply get out. Or he may be determined to create headlines that pacify his liberal base, both on Capitol Hill and in the country at large, and ensure that his escalation receives the political, financial and moral support it will require.

    Update #2: The White House is now denying CNN's report. I hope we can get the backstory on what happened here.

    Three Big Questions About Obama's Afghanistan Plan | The New Republic



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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    White House Officials Clarify Talk of Three Year Time Line in Afghanistan

    In a conference call, the White House clarifies what those reports about a three year time line were about. Although the phrase three years doesn't appear anywhere in Obama's speech, he will set July 2011 as the date when NATO forces will start handing over the lead of combat operations to Afghan force, and apparently begin to bring U.S. forces back home.

    It's not at all clear, however, whether that is a fixed date--or whether it will be tied to unpredictable conditions on the ground.

    And along those same lines, a senior White House official speaking on background says: "This is the beginning of a process which is not yet defined in terms of the length of the process, or the endpoint."

    Sounds fairly open-ended to me--as it realistically has to be, given the uncertainties involved and Obama's apparent belief in the necessity of winning.

    "If the Taliban thinks they can wait us out, then they are misjudging the president's approach," adds the official.

    White House Officials Clarify Talk Of Three Year Time Line In Afghanistan | The New Republic



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    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    That crossed my mind, too. The troops should be coming home from Iraq in 2011, too.
    I dont think that much can get accomplished in 1 year. He is so full of it! Its going to take awhile just to GET them there and then turn around and solve the issues and come back by 2011??? > No way. 10 years we have been there!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cupcake View Post
    I dont think that much can get accomplished in 1 year. He is so full of it! Its going to take awhile just to GET them there and then turn around and solve the issues and come back by 2011??? > No way. 10 years we have been there!!!
    Is that what Sean Hannity's saying on Fox News? And we can probably have troops in Afghanistan within 72 hours, maybe less. And just like in Iraq, the objective is to hand over operations to the security forces, not solve all of the country's issues, which are unsolvable. While it may seem like we've been in Afghanistan forever it hasn't been 10 years yet. Almost a decade, but not quite.

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    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
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    No it was not on Hannity. His show is later at night, this was today on CNN...Troops in 72 hours? Maybe some. Look what happened after we left Kandahar? It was calm for awhile then we left and things are bad there again. We cannot solve their problems and MAKE them TRAIN them to get along...Impossible. I think its a waste of time and lives personally. Thought alot of other people that voted for Obama were happy when he said he was pulling troops OUT!
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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    When did Obama say he was pulling troops out? Because what I remember is that he said he was going to end the war in Iraq responsibly by establishing a timetable, which he's done. And, at the same time, he repeatedly said he was going to put the focus back on Afghanistan, which meant he would send in more troops, which he's doing.

    Personally, I have mixed feelings on the troop surge. But as long as there's an exit strategy I can deal with it. And since the U.S. blew Iraq and Afghanistan to hell we owe it to both countries to leave in a responsible manner. We can't nation-build and try to turn them into democracies, but we have to get them to be able to handle their own security issues, which also benefits our own national security.

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    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
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    youre correct, a timeline to pull out troops in Iraq.
    Im just numb about this. I dont know what the answer is but I cant imagine it is to risk more soldiers lives and an astronmical cost. I definetly dont believe we will be out as soon as he is saying. Im sick of the words on all sides.
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    I think he's pretty much doing what he said he'd do...get out of Iraq as quickly as the conditions on the ground allow and put the focus on Afghantisan and bring our involvement to the quickest end possible. We wouldn't still be in Afghanistan if Cheney the Hateful Evil Simpson Character hadn't decided to skip into Iraq, we had huge early successes and then just simply let it go, pulling troops into Iraq.
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