Officials: Gen. McChrystal Now Seeking 80,000 Additional Troops for Afghanistan

Military Doesn't Have Remotely That Many Available

When General McChrystal was first reported as requesting 40,000 additional troops for Afghanistan, many people balked at the massive number. Not long after, the number was quietly revised to 45,000. Last Friday it became clear that the general had actually requested over 60,000.

Now McClatchy Newspapers is citing officials in the Obama Administration and military as saying that the General’s “low-risk” option was actually even higher, asking for 80,000 additional troops for the war in Afghanistan.

All the while, the 40,000 number has remained out there as a “medium-risk” option. The once massive escalation, suddenly reimagined as a “compromise” position in the face of outrageously large demands that have since been made. McChrystal reportedly isn’t thrilled with 40,000, which he has described as the absolute minimum needed.

The rub, however, is that with 68,000 US troops already in Afghanistan and 120,000+ still in Iraq, in addition to all of America’s assorted other imperial requirements around the world, the US military simply doesn’t have anywhere near the number of additional troops just lying around that the general wants to throw at the eight year long conflict. Officials are now saying that, even with the disastrous economy making wartime recruiting remarkably easy, they can only send about 30,000 more troops without putting undue strain on the Army and Marine Corps.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.