Monday, December 7, 2009

Sleight of Hand

Over at Lex's yesterday, Quartermaster opined that there was no valid reason for President Obama not to give McChrystal the 40K troops he asked for.

I mused that maybe he had a reason. Perhaps he was just trying to show the Democrats and the American people that he would not be bullied pushed around by the military.

And then today, it all came into sharper focus when I read this comment in a discussion about what role Canada might play in Afghanistan post-2011.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon met in Brussels this past week with Canada’s NATO allies as the alliance cobbled together 7,000 additional troops from 20 countries, but not Canada. The number was short of the 10,000 the Obama administration wanted after committing an additional 30,000 U.S. personnel to the mission earlier in the week.

Let's recap then. General McChrystal asked for 40,000 more troops for Afghanistan. Obama offered 30,000. And then looked to NATO make up the remaining 10,000.

I wonder how well that's going to work for him.
The British government is facing opinion polls showing that around 70 percent of the public favors an early withdrawal. That figure has nearly doubled in the past six months, as the country has sustained its worst casualties — 97 killed so far this year — since it first deployed troops to Afghanistan after the Taliban were toppled in 2001.

Germany and France have balked at committing any more forces to a war that has so little public support that they can barely maintain current troop levels.

The Netherlands and Canada have begun discussing plans to pull out. Canadian defense officials told reporters traveling with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in Halifax last week that they had no intention of sending troops in the future, and that they remained committed to withdrawing by the end of 2011.

Even if the allies make commitments for 5,000 or more new troops after the president’s address on Tuesday at West Point, NATO officials say, those commitments will include troops already in Afghanistan to provide security for recent elections and trainers for the Afghan Army and the police.

And it remains unclear whether several thousand NATO and other foreign troops are really the equal of a similarly sized American force in terms of military capacity. Some countries may continue to restrict how their forces may be employed. In addition, a force that is cobbled together from too many nations — a few hundred here and a thousand there — might not have the unit cohesion of an American force, military analysts said.
But don't you worry your pretty little head about it. I'm sure the President had a real good reason for waiting over 2 months to announce a decision to send 10,000 less troops that McChrystal asked for. And then asking his allies to make up the slack.

Which I suppose might just make it *our* fault when if the non-surge surge isn't successful. Seeing as how the United States is giving it all in the "good war". Alas, if only the those allies could be counted on to do their part.

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