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Afghanistan: Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace?
international | anti-war / imperialism | feature Wednesday December 02, 2009 23:02 by Gerard Horgan - Freelance writer
After more than three months' deliberation, President Barack Obama has finally decided to commit more than 30,000 US troops to the Afghan war. The ‘Afghan surge’ is to be fast tracked over the next six months with a large bulk of the troops arriving before Christmas. The deployment will cost approximately $1 million dollars per soldier, per year, some $30 billion overall. This price tag is on top of the considerable costs (running into the hundreds of billions of dollars) of keeping over 100,000 US soldiers ‘in-country’, while maintaining other US global military operations as well as the on-going fiasco in Iraq. The combined deployment of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is close to 250,000 service personnel, which is augmented by the greatest number of private military contractors/mercenaries ever seen (some 100,000 in Iraq alone).
President Obama’s efforts to keep everyone on-side (with one eye on re-election in 2013) has had the effect of achieving the complete opposite. The US General in charge, Stanley McChrystal, will not get the 45,000 troops he requested but just enough troops to guarantee failure (it is doubtful that 300,000 additional US troops would make the slightest difference to the quagmire in Afghanistan). Republicans have accused Obama of dithering over the decision-making process and undermining the US military by indicating that US (and presumably NATO) forces will withdraw by 2011. Those on the left and in the peace movements will point to the troop escalation and ‘Obama’s War’ as an indication that he has failed those who believed in ‘change’. Meanwhile a recent poll indicates that 63% of Americans are against a further deployment, 51% say the war is "not worth fighting" and that ending the foreign occupation will "reduce terrorism".