Thursday, November 19, 2009

McChrystal's Plan Would Leave Troop Levels Cashed

Data from the U.S Army reveals that the U.S military is desperately short on available troops as it weighs whether or not to escalate in Afghanistan. The report shows that the U.S currently has 50,600 active military soldiers and 24,000 reservists who are not currently deployed abroad or at home on mandatory rest from their previous deployment. Should President Obama honor McChrystal's request to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, particularly for an extended stay, he would either drop the number of available active duty soldiers in the United States to the low thousands, or he would deplete the National Guard to the point that many states would not be ready to handle local emergencies.

The Washington Independent should get tremendous credit for this story. It is obvious to anyone following the war in Afghanistan that our troops are hopelessly stretched, with many serving their third, fourth and fifth tours of duty. No one in the media is asking where the Obama administration plans to get these troops from, though some speculate that the recession will swell the new recruit numbers. Additionally, the Obama administration has talked about using the withdrawal from Iraq to provide troops to Afghanistan. However, that withdrawal is going slowly, and many of the soldiers coming back from Iraq will need to rest in the U.S before redeployment.

As much as right-wingers love to clamor about "America's security", does it not seem absolutely reckless to leave the United States with such few soldiers on its home soil? One final solution that came to mind was closing military bases around the world to provide soldiers for Afghanistan. I have not seen this idea posited by the administration, but it would be a nice silver lining to a troop surge.

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