Anthony Cordesman, a top adviser to US command in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has urged the US to send another 45,000 troops to Afghanistan, on top of the 21,000 troop escalation already approved by the Obama Administration.
Cordesman, a long time critic of the Bush Administration for not escalating the Iraq and Afghan Wars even more when they were in charge, was most recently in the news for his February report praising the Israeli military’s “decisive” invasion of the Gaza Strip the month before. He now says the US should create an Afghan National Army of at least 240,000 troops, making nearly 1% of the nation’s overall population an active part of its military.
The revelation in this case was very public, and comes in stark contrast to a memo leak two weeks ago in Iraq, where top adviser Colonel Timothy Reese advised the administration to withdraw as soon as possible. That memo wasn’t very well received by an administration which has kept troop levels in the nation virtually flat while trumpeting its success, and it wasn’t long before his top commander publicly rejected the advice.
In this case, the administration has been openly talking about adding to the 21,000 commitment before the end of the year, and has suggested that it will almost certainly escalate even further in 2010. Despite the continued worsening of the violence in the nation, the White House continues to deny the war is a “crisis.” Far from being advice which challenges the political consensus, today’s revelation may be just the excuse the administration has been looking for to sell an even bigger escalation to a war-weary American public.