According to a report in the Saturday edition of the Independent, top US commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal will request another 20,000 troops for the war effort in Afghanistan, on top of the escalation already provided by President Obama, when he issues his new “plan” for the nation.
Shortly after taking office President Obama approved the addition of another 17,000 to the war effort as part of an attempt to turn around the sagging war effort. He added another further 4,000 troops in March as part of his new “comprehensive strategy” at the time.
Needless to say, the strategy did not work, and the situation in Afghanistan has continued to worsen. Gen. McKiernan was ousted in May, and Gen. McChrystal was put in place to attempt yet another new strategy. The release of that strategy has been delayed, but has long been assumed to be another escalation, which the administration seems only too eager to oblige.
At the same time, three high profile polls show that the American public, long supportive of the military effort in Afghanistan, has had enough and is now firmly opposed to the conflict’s continuation. Though the war seems far from foremost in the minds of many voters right now, a further escalation could have political consequences down the road.
Likewise, the ability of the military to provide yet another 20,000 troops even as it continues to keep over 130,000 troops on the ground in Iraq is very much in doubt. Though the US may be able to coax a few thousand more troops out of the virtually lame duck Brown Administration in Britain, the vast majority would have to come from the US, and would put the joint commitment on the ground in the two major wars at over 200,000 troops at any given time.