US media has reported that [General Stanley] McChrystal is considering three options, including a “high risk” strategy of adding just 15,000 troops to the 68,000 troops that would be on the ground by year’s end.
A “medium risk” strategy would add 25,000 troops and a “low risk” option would be to send in 45,000.
Meanwhile, in the face of growing popular disagreement with continuing to fight this war, Admiral Mullen trots out the old fight 'em over there so we don't have to fight 'em over here argument:
WASHINGTON: Al-Qaeda remains “very capable” of attacking the United States, the top US military officer said Sunday as he tried to boost waning US support for the conflict in Afghanistan. Nearly eight years after the September 11, 2001 attacks that killed some 3,000 people, Al-Qaeda is “still very capable, very focused on it,” chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“They also are able to both train and support and finance, and so that capability is still significant,” he said.
Mullen added that the US military is “very focused on making sure that it doesn’t happen again,” referring to the potential for another such attack on US soil.
There are several dozen reasons why this argument is--technical term--utter horseshit, but let's just go with the most obvious: logistically it is far easier for Al Qaeda to kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan than it will ever be in the continental United States. Terrorists are not the superhuman shadow-like beings that TV programs like 24 and our government have portrayed them to be. They operate far better in familiar surroundings and a militarized environment.
But admitting that is not how you sell the Patriot Act, the TSA, the elimination of basic civil liberties, torture, and indefinite detention to both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Meanwhile, for those of you who naively thought that electing any new President would mean a rapid wind-down of our involvement in what now should be called the Iraqi Civil War, there is this:
With Pentagon officials continuing to work on contingencies for the increasingly unlikely event that President Obama actually fulfills his pledge to remove troops from Iraq, the enormous amounts of military equipment the US has shipped to the nation over the past six years is becoming an increasing topic of conversation.
Though the Pentagon has declined to give an exact price tag for removing what Major General Kevin Leonard says is “literally millions of pieces of equipment,” it is likely to run into the tens of billions of dollars.
Ah, but it's truly great that our foreign policy has changed so radically in the past eight months, isn't it?