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The Cost of War, Now With the Accountant of War

Apropos of my query why Peter Orszag, the chief of the White House Office of Management and Budget, wasn’t in yesterday’s all-hands Afghanistan strategy session, Josh Gerstein at Politico has a great catch:

Spotted in the official White House photo of Monday night’s war council meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan in the White House’s situation room: Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag.

His name was not included in a list of participants the White House released earlier Monday, but there has been increasing talk in recent days of the cost of stepping up the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan. A quick search of previously-released attendees at the meetings did not disclose Orszag’s attendance.

“Every 10,000 troops would entail a fiscal-year cost of about $10 billion, very roughly speaking,” Orszag said earlier this month at a conference sponsored by Bloomberg News. That comes out to approximately $1 million per soldier per year.

Gerstein’s colleague Ben Smith also made the same play. (Press Secretary Robert Gibbs confirms Orzsag’s presence in the meeting to Gerstein here.) And just so I can hit the trifecta on linking to Politico writers, Mike Allen reports that President Obama plans to roll out a revised Afghanistan strategy next Tuesday, Dec. 1.

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