Gates Announces New Afghanistan Escalation

1,400 Marines Part of 'Leeway' Forces Approved in Obama's Last Escalation

by Jason Ditz, January 06, 2011

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has approved yet another escalation of the war in Afghanistan, this time approving another 1,400 Marines who are expected to be sent to Afghanistan within a matter of weeks.

Pentagon officials said the new escalation isn’t technically new, but rather a function of President Obama’s 10 percent “leeway” put in place when he announced his 30,000 troop escalation in December.

Officials say the escalation is needed to “solidify gains” made in recent months. Since those gains don’t include any actual metrics but are just a vague feeling from a number of top officials that things are going better, this will likely be easy enough to accomplish.

The move comes just months before the oft-cited and oft-disavowed “drawdown” is supposed to either begin or pass unnoticed, depending on which audience officials are speaking to at the time. It seems that with this escalation the US may have more troops in Afghanistan after the date than at any time in 2010.

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