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Afghanistan Is Looking Like an Emergency to Everyone But the Pentagon

Let me start off by noting that not everyone agrees increasing troop levels in Afghanistan is a solution to the deteriorating situation there. Maybe yes, maybe no; hopefully I’ll have better insights into the question when I go to Afghanistan in the next few weeks. But that said, take a look at the contrast between this McClatchy piece

Nearly twice as many U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan than in Iraq so far this month, marking the lowest death toll of the Iraq war and the first time that the American military has suffered more casualties in Afghanistan than it has in Iraq.

– and this Pentagon press release:

[Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell did say that for the time being, U.S. Central Command’s strategic reserve –- 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit -– will not deploy to Afghanistan. The 2,200 Marines of the unit now are training in Kuwait.

Military commanders said that as much as troops are needed in Afghanistan, the strategic reserve is an insurance policy in a dangerous part of the world. Morrell wouldn’t discuss possible scenarios.

“If we were to commit these resources to Afghanistan now, we would be hamstrung in responding to future threats,” he said.

“The situation is not so desperately urgent at this point that it requires us rushing the strategic reserve for Central Command into Afghanistan at this very moment,” he said. “It is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed.”

How many more U.S. troop fatalities in Afghanistan would constitute “desperately urgent,” sir?

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