Pentagon Finally Prioritizing Afghanistan? « The Washington Independent
That’s what U.S. News suggests. Gen. David McKiernan, commander of NATO forces in the increasingly chaotic war, tells the magazine’s Anna Mulrine that he’s getting as many as 15,000 additional troops as early as the end of the year. (That sound early to you? Considering the rapid deterioration over the past year?) McKiernan wants even more than that, though, but there’s one small problem:
Finding those particular troops to supplement the 101st, however, depends on conditions and troop levels in Iraq, adds McKiernan, who took over the NATO command in June. "That’s really a zero-sum decision."
Yes, indeed, it is. And if ever there’s a case where your judgment about prolonging or ending the war is implicated — as well as your perspective on whether the war was ever in the U.S.’s interest — here it is. You can’t put the troops in Afghanistan if they’re in Iraq.
McKiernan’s comments are probably aimed at his next boss: a certain fellow named Gen. David H. Petraeus, you may have heard of him. Before Petraeus heads to Florida to take over U.S. Central Command, he’ll be testifying before Congress next month about the situation in Iraq. Now that Petraeus will have to take a focus broader than Iraq, McKiernan surely wants to make sure his boss knows about the opportunity costs that the Iraq occupation imposes upon Afghanistan. Don’t expect Petraeus to become Fox Fallon just yet, but pay attention to what Petraeus tells Congress.