Military officials: Obama leaning toward 34,000 more troops for Afghanistan

The peace candidate my ass.

From Raw Story:

President Barack Obama has begun to favor a plan that would send an additional 34,000 U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan, military officials told McClatchy Newspapers according to a Saturday report.

The president’s current plan would require 23,000 soldiers from Fort Campbell and Fort Drum to deploy. An additional 7,000 would support a division headquarters in Kandahar, with 4,000 more trainers coming with them, McClatchy reporter Jonathan S. Landay wrote.

The report continued: “The first additional combat brigade probably would arrive in Afghanistan next March, the officials said, with the other three following at roughly three-month intervals, meaning that all the additional U.S. troops probably wouldn’t be deployed until the end of next year. Army brigades number 3,500 to 5,000 soldiers; a Marine brigade has about 8,000 troops.”

President Obama has been criticized by Republicans for “dithering” on making a decision whether or not to escalate troop levels in Afghanistan. Speaking to right-wing television outlet Fox News on Thursday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) claimed that he is “past angry” with the president for not having a decision in hand.

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United States to send ‘up to 45,000 more troops to Afghanistan’

From The Telegraph (U.K.):

The US is expected to announce a significant surge of up to 45,000 extra troops for Afghanistan after Gordon Brown said that 500 more British troops would be sent to the country.

President Barack Obama’s administration is understood to have told the British government that it could announce, as early as next week, the substantial increase to its 65,000 troops already serving there.

The decision from Mr Obama comes after he considered a request from General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, to send tens of thousands of extra American troops to the country.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said: “I don’t want to put words in the mouths of the Americans but I am fairly confident of the way it is going to come out.”

An announcement next week could coincide with a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Bratislava, Slovakia, due next Thursday and Friday.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed the claims, after President Obama met with his war council for the fifth time to map out a new strategy in Afghanistan.

“I would not put any weight behind the fact that a decision has been made, when the President has yet to make a decision,” he told reporters in Washington.

“I’ve seen the report. It’s not true, either generally or specifically. The president has not made a decision.”

But Ministry of Defence sources indicated that the British Government had been told to expect a substantial increase in the number of of American troops.

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Obama approved 13,000 more troops to Afghanistan

The Nobel Peace Prize winner steps up the war a little.

From Yahoo! News:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – In an unannounced move, President Barack Obama is dispatching an additional 13,000 US troops to Afghanistan beyond the 21,000 he announced publicly in March, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The additional forces are primarily support forces — such as engineers, medical personnel, intelligence experts and military police — the Post said, bringing the total buildup Obama has approved for the war-torn nation to 34,000.

“Obama authorized the whole thing. The only thing you saw announced in a press release was the 21,000,” a defense official familiar with the troop-approval process told the daily.

The report, posted on the newspaper’s website late Monday, came as Obama weighs a request from the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, for more combat, training and support troops, with several options including one for 40,000 more forces.

But the newspaper noted that the maximum number of US service members expected in Afghanistan by year’s end — 68,000 — would remain the same.

Major deployments of support troops have not been publicized by the Pentagon and the White House in the past. When former president George W. Bush announced a US troop increase in Iraq, he only mentioned 20,000 combat troops and not the accompanying 8,000 support troops.

The troop increase approved by Obama brought the level of US forces deployed in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters to a total greater than during the peak of the surge in Iraq in late 2007 and early 2008.

At the start of this month, some 65,000 US forces are currently in Afghanistan and about 124,000 in Iraq, compared to around 26,000 US troops in Afghanistan and 160,000 in Iraq at the height of the Iraq surge, according to a troop count by the Post.

 

Top U.S. Commander for Afghan War: More Forces or ‘Mission Failure’

From Cryptogon.com:

Failure? Someone wound up with a whole lot of opium and heroin, and a bunch of corporations made a killing from a gusher of absurd and lucrative contracts.

That sounds more like just another day at the office than failure to me—considering the criminal organizations involved and their blood soaked gravy train.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s shakedown reminds me of a classic bit of black comedy from my IT days, when “consultants” would show up to my festering tumor workplace du jour bearing, “innovate solutions”:

Consulting

I used to think, “How come these bozos are so happy when this big top is weeks—or even days—away from total failure?”

Read the rest:

http://cryptogon.com/?p=11134

Sources: McChrystal Wants Up to 40,000 More Troops in Afghanistan

From Fox News:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is privately requesting between 30,000 and 40,000 more troops, a request that has produced “sticker shock” and “huge resistance” among key lawmakers, sources told FOX News.

Congressional liberals who led the charge against the Iraq war are starting to turn their attention to Afghanistan, putting pressure on the Obama administration to scale back even as it prepares to consider a likely request to increase the U.S. troop presence.

Members of the “Out of Iraq” caucus are organizing into a new group whose mission will be to question the military surge in the country President Obama has deemed critical to the fight against terrorism.

“He will hear from us,” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., who was a founding member of the Iraq caucus.

“Afghanistan is not Iraq. The terrain is different. It’s difficult. It’s harsh. There’s a question whether you could ever end all of your efforts successfully,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who is part of both groups.

The resistance to the war is forming from inside the president’s own party. In recent days, a number of prominent Democrats have questioned calls to increase the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan.

//

This could put Obama squarely between his party and his top military advisers and officials.

Though Obama has already sent 21,000 troops and trainers to the country, an official request is widely expected for more U.S. troops beyond the 68,000 that will be there by the end of the year.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate panel Tuesday that the war effort requires another 4,000 U.S. troops to train the Afghan army and an unspecified number of additional U.S. combat forces to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Obama on Wednesday said there is no “immediate decision pending” on more troops to Afghanistan.

Asked if U.S. and NATO forces are winning the war, the president offered no direct response.

“My determination is to get this right,” he said. “You don’t make determinations about resources, and certainly you don’t make determinations about sending young men and women into battle, without having absolute clarity about what the strategy’s going to be.”

Meanwhile, Obama aides dismissed questions about the mounting opposition to the war from within the Democratic Party.

“The president is looking at this not through a political lens, but how do we get a very important national security concern right?” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

FOX News’ James Rosen contributed to this report.

More ‘combat enablers’ Afghan-bound

From The Army Times (h/t BlackListedNews):

By William H. McMichael – Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Sep 16, 2009 5:52:35 EDT

About 3,000 additional troops are headed to Afghanistan — but not as part of any new request from the top U.S. commander there, a senior defense official said Monday.

The troops are what the military calls “combat enablers” — noncombat troops who specialize in areas such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; explosives ordnance disposal; medical and mental health; and personnel administration. They will deploy in team-sized elements as opposed to larger units, according to the official, who asked not to be identified.

About 1,000 such troops also will deploy to Iraq, the official said, adding that both groups are being sent in response to existing requests by the theater commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The so-called “request for forces” was approved two weeks ago by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the official said.

That request has been forwarded to U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., which is now identifying the troops to be deployed and the services from which they’ll be drawn.

As such, no deployment orders have been signed and no time frame for the deployments has yet been finalized, the official said.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell confirmed that Gates has not signed any such orders but said that nothing has yet been finalized with regard to sending more troops to either theater.

“He’s looking at seeing how he can get more counter-IED capabilities over to our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Morrell said. “He wants to figure out how he can provide them [more] route clearance, explosive ordnance disposal teams, medics, medevac capabilities, intelligence assets, things of that nature. But nothing has been determined yet about how to do this.”

Many in Washington expect a near-term request for more troops out of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who last week delivered to the Pentagon his initial assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, widely acknowledged to be deteriorating.

This new group of deployments, however, is “not at all” tied to McChrystal’s assessment, said the senior official, who confirmed that McChrystal has not yet made any request for additional troops.

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama approved the deployment of an additional 21,000 troops — 3,500 of them trainers being deployed this month. Once those are in place, U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan will be roughly 65,500.

The fresh enablers would bring the U.S. total in Afghanistan to slightly more than 68,000, the total authorized by Obama to date. Troop strength by year’s end will be slightly more than double the total in country at the end of 2008.

Army Gen. David McKiernan, who the Pentagon unexpectedly replaced with McChrystal this past spring, had told Obama that he wanted an additional 10,000 troops beyond that total. That decision was postponed until later in the year.

In June, according to The Associated Press, Gates told an Army audience at Fort Drum, N.Y., “I think there will not be a significant increase in troop levels in Afghanistan beyond the 68,000, at least probably through the end of the year. Maybe some increase, but not a lot.”

Morrell said that any addition of enablers might not add to the total now in Afghanistan.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean we add at all to the total number of forces that are on the ground in Afghanistan,” Morrell said. “because simultaneous to this internal effort to find those additional capabilities, there are efforts under way such as those by General McChrystal in terms of looking at the kinds of forces he has in Afghanistan as it is now that he feels as though he may not need.

“So if there are duplicative forces that have specialties that he doesn’t find particularly worthwhile at this particular point, you can rotate those forces,” Morrell said.

US bans alcohol at army bases in Afghanistan

From PressTV:

A top US commander has banned alcohol at its headquarters in Kabul after troops were found to be too drunk in the wake of a recent deadly air strike in Afghanistan.

US General Stanley McChrystal tried to contact his subordinates after a NATO strike killed 125 civilians, but too many had been “partying it up”, the Times reported.

Based on report, McChrystal admonished the staff for not having “their heads in the right place” a few hours after the lethal attack in the war-ravaged country.

The senior commander has reportedly put a ban on drinking after troops could not respond quickly to a new lethal bombing.

At least 125 people, many of whom were civilians, were killed and scores of others injured on Friday after NATO warplanes targeted stolen fuel tankers on orders of a German commander in the northern Kunduz province.

The NATO command said the air raid had targeted two fuel tankers allegedly hijacked by Taliban-linked militants.

The incident drew international condemnation and world leaders called for a probe into the air strike.

Pressure is mounting on the US and its western allies to pull out troops from the country amid growing civilians and troops’ causalities.