Afghanistan Exit Strategy
This weekend marked a new milestone for the war in Afghanistan: the number of US troops killed in the war since President Obama took office is now twice the number that were killed during Bush's term, according to icasualties.org and our US Troops in Afghanistan: Obama vs Bush web counter. That means that two-thirds of the total US troop deaths have occurred in the last two years and eight months, which accounts for roughly a third of the duration of the war to date.
1728 US troops have died in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001, with 1153 of those deaths having occurred since President Obama's inauguration. 575 US troops died in Afghanistan during President Bush's term in office.
We've all heard the argument before: Bush ignored Afghanistan, Obama did what he promised by escalating the war, and since more troops means more deaths, we shouldn't be surprised by the increased death rate.
Back in June, when US deaths in Afghanistan under Obama reached 1000, I wrote a piece about this argument. I'm not going to address it further here, because there are more pressing issues of concern than looking to the past.
The cavalry has arrived!
MoveOn.org is asking MoveOn members to write to President Obama in opposition to Pentagon/ McCain/Lieberman demands for more U.S. troops to be sent to Afghanistan, Greg Sargent reports.
MoveOn To Call On Obama To Develop Exit Strategy For Afghanistan
In its first direct pressure on President Obama over a major war-and-peace issue, MoveOn will call on the president today to develop an exit strategy for Afghanistan, a MoveOn official confirms to me.
MoveOn will blast an email to its massive list later today calling for members to write to the White House and demand "a clear exit strategy," the official confirms.
Indeed, MoveOn has already sent the email to some of its members. (If you are a MoveOn member and didn't see the email, don't panic - MoveOn typically starts its engagement by sending an email to part of its massive list.)
Sargent publishes the email here.
Pro-war advocates both inside and outside the administration - including John McCain and Joe Lieberman - are calling for a big escalation. The general in charge of Afghanistan is expected to request tens of thousands more troops, and that may just be the beginning. They're cranking up the pressure for an immediate surge.
But other powerful voices are urging caution: Vice President Biden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have raised real concerns about the idea of sending more troops to Afghanistan without a clear strategy, as have Democrats in Congress. And a majority of Americans oppose increasing troop levels.