Gates Announces Two More Brigades for Afghanistan
The good thing about staying on as defense secretary is that you can fly into Kandahar whenever you feel like it. And, like a baller, you can announce new troop deployments. Yochi Dreazen hangs out with Bob Gates and reports:
The Pentagon hopes to deploy two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan by next summer, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday, accelerating the shift of resources from Iraq.
Which units, precisely, haven’t been decided yet, but Dreazen reports that one of them may be “diverted from Iraq.” With the new brigade combat team that’s going to be positioned (mostly) in the Logar-Wardak area, the additional troop component now stands at three brigades by (maybe) the summer, one shy of the four that Gen. David McKiernan, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has requested.
So the U.S. will get three new brigades for Afghanistan. The Marine Corps wants to go all-in. But what the U.S. still doesn’t have is a clear achievable strategy, as Jack Murtha pointed out yesterday. There’s a strategy review being conducted by Gen. David Petraeus. Inevitably there’ll be a review conducted by the Obama administration once it takes office. But unless those reviews address the hard questions — what are the right goals for the U.S. in Afghanistan? What’s it going to take to achieve them? What’s a reasonable and what’s an unreasonable cost for success? — all that Afghanistan is going to bring the U.S. is more suffering. Jim Jones, the incoming national security adviser, has given indications that he agrees. But we’ll have to wait and see.