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February 05, 2009

Change! US To Delay Adding Troops To Afghanistan

Um, I seem to remember a certain candidate for President beating up on a then President about the need to focus on Afghanistan and add resources to the fight there.

Things change.

ABC News has learned that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has decided to delay a decision to send additional troops into Afghanistan until after the Obama administration concludes its ongoing review of the strategy for Afghanistan.

The surprising decision comes after the much anticipated proposal to send three additional combat brigades to Afghanistan -- or 17,000 troops as reported by ABC News last week -- was presented to Secretary Gates for his approval this afternoon. The Pentagon troop proposal anticipated a large Marine brigade to be followed by two Army Brigade Combat Teams, including a Stryker Brigade. The top US general in Afghanistan , Gen. David McKiernan favors using the armored vehicles as a way of extending his troops' presence to remote regions of Afghanistan.

Gates told Congress last week that he anticipated that should a decision to send additional brigades be made, "we could have two of those brigades there probably by late spring, and potentially a third by mid-summer."

It's unclear how long the decision will be delayed given that the reviews are expected to go on for at least another few weeks and possibly a few months.

It makes no sense to drop troops in if you don't have a strategy for them but I fear this is simply the beginning of a very long wind down militarily around the world in the Age of Obama.

Ah remember the old days when Obama demanded troops be added to Afghanistan? And by 'old days' I mean 5 days ago.

Obama said he wants to add troops to turn back the Taliban, but he has not gone beyond the approximately 30,000 additional forces already under consideration by the previous administration. Those troops will nearly double the U.S. presence in Afghanistan this year. But they amount to a finger in the dike while Obama recalibrates a chaotic mishmash of military and development objectives.

Apparently the AP did not get the memo that we have always wanted to freeze troop levels in Afghanistan.

I wonder if Secretary Gates is feeling a little suckered right about now.

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posted by DrewM. at 06:55 PM

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