Discussion in 'Black People Politics' started by Ankhur, Nov 30, 2009.
The anouncement will be made today, any speculations?
From The Sunday Times November 29, 2009
Democrats in revolt over Barack Obama’s troop surge
Christina Lamb in Washington
President Barack Obama
Barack Obama's much-vaunted eloquence faces the biggest test of his presidential career this week when he takes to the stage at West Point military academy to explain to a nation that thought it had elected an anti-war president why he is escalating the conflict in Afghanistan.
After almost three months of agonising, nine war councils and endless leaks, the president will finally make his views known on Tuesday when he is expected to announce that he is sending about 30,000 more troops. This will push up American forces to 100,000 and the total number of allied forces to almost 140,000, as many troops as the Soviet Union had in Afghanistan.
The carefully chosen backdrop cannot disguise Obama’s dilemma. Somehow he has to convince his own public that the United States has an exit strategy and will not become bogged down, as it did in Vietnam, while making clear to the Taliban and Pakistan that it has not lost its resolve and will stay as long as it takes.
Obama’s toughest challenge will be to win over his most loyal political supporters. He is facing a growing revolt in the Democratic party over why the US needs to be in Afghanistan at all when the real threat — Al-Qaeda — is in Pakistan, and over the spiralling cost in both lives and dollars.
“I think the operative question is why we’re there,” said Anna Eshoo, a Democratic congresswoman who sits on the House intelligence committee. “That’s what I’ll be wanting to hear from the president.”
Eshoo, who represents a seat in California where unemployment is at a post-war high of 12.5%, is one of a growing number of voices in the party questioning whether the nation can afford the war.
The annual bill for the extra troops is estimated at $30 billion (£18.2 billion), on top of the $10 billion-a-month the war is costing. “We’re still not out of Iraq and we’re getting deeper into Afghanistan, both of which are hugely expensive,” she said.
She has joined David Obey, a Democratic congressman from Wisconsin, to introduce legislation that would impose a surtax on all taxpayers to fund the war. “It doesn’t seem fair that the sacrifice is being made only by military and their families,” she said.
In a sign of White House concern over the issue Obama invited Peter Orszag, the budget director, to sit in on his final round of deliberations on the Afghanistan strategy last week. “There is serious unrest in our caucus ... can we afford this war?” said Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker.
Obey’s proposal would impose a 1% surtax on anyone earning less than $150,000 a year, and up to 5% on those earning more. It was an idea put into practice by President Lyndon Johnson, who brought in a temporary 10% surtax to help pay for the Vietnam war.
Democrats fear that stepping up the conflict at a time when unemployment is at a 26-year high of 10.2% will rebound on them in the mid-term elections next November.
“I think it threatens his domestic agenda pretty substantially,” said Bruce Buchanan, a professor of government at the University of Texas. “That’s what a lot of other Democrats like Pelosi are worried about right now.”
For this reason Obama’s speech will emphasise that sending more troops does not mean a neverending commitment to the war. “The president will ... underscore for the American people that this is not an open-ended conflict,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman.
Obama has come under much criticism from the military at home and abroad and both sides of the political spectrum for the amount of time he has taken to decide whether to back recommendations made by General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander in Afghanistan, to send more troops “or risk failure”.
Obama is expected to back a compromise proposal from Robert Gates, his defence secretary, to send 30,000 troops. This is less than the 40,000-plus requested by McChrystal, but he hopes to make up the shortfall with 10,000 extra soldiers from Nato countries. Nato defence ministers are meeting this week but an official admitted its contribution is likely to be more like 5,000.
There is still more backing for the war in the US than in Britain — a poll last week showed slightly more Americans in favour of escalating the war than cutting troop levels. But this support comes largely from Obama’s political opponents, while those who voted for him and who will be crucial to re-electing Democrats in Congress next year are sceptical.
“Voters, particularly women, thought they had elected an anti-war president to get them out of Iraq, not to get them deeper into Afghanistan,” said Karen O’Connor, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University in Washington.
With the 21,000 extra troops Obama agreed in February, he will have authorised more than 50,000 this year.
The situation in Afghanistan was far worse than he realised during the campaign and has deteriorated since his election last November.
The president will need all his resolve in the coming months. Military commanders admit that sending more troops will mean more casualties, though they hope that the McChrystal strategy of pulling troops back to the main cities and highways will show some results. The Americans are anxious to avoid getting entangled in remote valleys and villages fighting the Taliban.
The biggest obstacle to success may be the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who started his second term in office earlier this month after a deeply flawed election.
And what is the purpose of continueing and escalating a neocon war?
Obama will send 30,000 to Afhanistan and less then 100 Al Qeuda
According to General Patreus there are practicaly no Al Queada in Afghanistan and according to Gen Mc Crystal there are less then 100, so they are being sent there for what and for who?
digg Huffpost - Obama's Afghanistan Plan: Over 30,000 Troops, Marines To Be First Wavedel.ico.us JENNIFER LOVEN | 12/ 1/09 09:53 AM |
WASHINGTON — A senior administration official tells The Associated Press that President Barack Obama is sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan to be deployed over six months.
In his speech to the nation Tuesday night, Obama also will lay out a rough timeframe, including some dates, for when the main U.S. military mission will end. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the details had not yet been announced.
The 30,000 new troops will bring the total in Afghanistan to more than 100,000 U.S. forces. The main mission of the new troops will be to reverse Taliban gains and secure population centers in the volatile south and east parts of the country.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) – New infusions of U.S. Marines will begin moving into Afghanistan almost as soon as President Barack Obama announces a redrawn battle strategy, a plan widely expected to include more than 30,000 additional U.S. forces.
Obama will try to sell a skeptical public on his bigger, costlier war plan Tuesday by coupling the large new troop infusion with an emphasis on stepped-up training for Afghan forces that he says will allow the U.S. to leave.
Obama formally ends a 92-day review of the war in Afghanistan Tuesday night with a nationally broadcast address in which he will lay out his revamped strategy from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He began rolling out his decision Sunday night, informing key administration officials, military advisers and foreign allies in a series of private meetings and phone calls that stretched into Monday.
Military officials said at least one group of Marines is expected to deploy within two or three weeks of Obama's announcement, and would be in Afghanistan by Christmas. Larger deployments wouldn't be able to follow until early in 2010.
According to the Bible, the answer is most definitely YES!!!
Human Sacrifice of African Americans...that is what this government is about and it doesn't matter who the president is, would be or will be.
I wish you were not correct about that and really I wish that was not the case.
Things are really out of hand and folks are too tired from working from sun up to sun down, economically beat down by higher costs of all necessities,
and faceing a renewed racism and regetrification,
to fully realize this horror
YES! Me too, I wish I was wrong about it.
But just as you have said above...the wheels are already in motion.
What do we do about it? I don't have all the answers but certainly we should not stop trying to do something in order to salvage as much as we can.
On another thread [WAR ON THE HORIZON] you mentioned an organization and I'm definitely ready now to look into what you are saying.
Can you provide some more info on this organization, it's time when they came together and what can they possibly do to help our cause?
Remember it was the everyday public,
that caused a racist gestapo, crook of a repiblican president, Nixon to end the
Vietnam war by protests and outrage.
It should not be as hard to convince a brother, a Democrat, a family man and a former community activist
But after seeing tonight's speech and the painful look and dampness in his eye, like a man compelled to say things against his moral values and convictions, there is very little anyone can stop this march to perpetual war.
by Richard K. Moore
from JimMarrs Website
Like many other viewers, I shrank back in disbelief when the images of the World Trade Centre (WTC) attack first began to flood the airwaves. How could this happen? Who would want to do such a thing? How could four different airliners all be hijacked at the same time? How had security systems and air defenses both failed so miserably? How would America respond?
And then the answers to such questions started coming in… within hours the authorities “knew” that the perpetrators were linked to Bin Laden, and President George Bush was already announcing a “War Against Terrorism”. While images of the attack were still being replayed, over and over again, US Congress had already authorized the President to take “any necessary measures”, and had allocated $40 billion to that purpose. Within days, the US had persuaded NATO to declare that this “attack on one member nation was an attack on all”.
Then it turned out that the $40 billion had come from America’s social-security fund, and $15 billion was being allocated to bailing out the airline industry. Next we were being told that Americans would need to give up their civil liberties, and Congress was rapidly approving the “Combating Terrorism Act of 2001”. The War on Terrorism was going to be largely a covert war, a war “unlike any other”, a war that would go on indefinitely into the future.
By this time, my disbelief began to turn into suspicion. How had the US government come up so quickly with such a comprehensive and coordinated response? How had they decided within hours that an extended War on Terrorism was the appropriate action? How did they know that $40 billion was the exact amount needed?
And then as background reports began to appear, my suspicion deepened. It turns out that the airlines were already in deep trouble, before the attack. And the US had other reasons to go after Afghanistan, having to do with oil reserves, and pipeline routes. And there had been earlier signs that the social-security funds might be raided for other uses. And still, no actual evidence had been produced linking Bin Laden to the attacks.
The whole scenario began to fit a very familiar pattern, a pattern that has characterized American history from its earliest days. This led me to a quite different analysis of the events than we were being fed over the mass media. I am not claiming that this alternative analysis is correct, I offer it only for your consideration. The various claims I make in this article are my opinion only.
There may be some factual errors, but in my humble opinion, given the reports I have seen, this seems to be the most-likely scenario...
US History – A Series of Suspicious Warpath ‘Incidents’
As we look back at history, we find that every time the US has entered into a major military adventure, that has been enabled by a dramatic incident which aroused public sentiment overwhelmingly in favor of military action. These incidents have always been accepted at face value when they occurred, but in every case we have learned later that the incidents were highly suspicious. And in every case, the ensuing military action served some elite geopolitical design.
Consider, for example, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which gave President Lyndon Johnson an excuse to begin major escalation of the Vietnam War. Supposedly, in that incident, a North Vietnamese boat launched torpedoes in an attempt to sink an American warship. It is now generally accepted by historians that the attack did not in fact occur, and that Johnson had been preparing to escalate all along.
One of my correspondents on the Internet summarized a portion of the history this way:
“The US Government lied to the American People about the following events. Each of these incidents led the United States into War....
“1898…THEY LIED about the sinking of the battleship Maine. (Spanish American War)
“1941…THEY LIED about the attack on Pearl Harbor. (World War II)
“1964…THEY LIED about the Gulf of Tonkin affair. (Vietnam War).”
In the media coverage of the recent WTC attack, the comparison with Pearl Harbor has been frequently raised. Thousands of American troops were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and thousands of American civilians were killed in the attack on the WTC. In both cases the American people responded (quite understandably) with deep shock and outrage. In both cases, overwhelming public sentiment was for retaliation, and for giving the President total support for whatever course he chose.
In 1941, as now, any suggestion that the US government knew in advance of the attacks, and could have prevented them, would have been met by angry disbelief by almost any American. Nonetheless, the evidence now seems to favor the view that President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) did know about the impending attack on Pearl Harbor, and that he could have mounted an effective defense.
We now know that elite US planners, during the period 1939-1941, had come to the conclusion that the Japanese conquest of Asia had to be stopped. The planners determined that Southeast Asia, in particular, was critical to US economic interests. But US public opinion was overwhelmingly against entering the war. It now seems that FDR figured out a way to get the US into the war, and that Pearl Harbor was the key to his plan.
When the Japanese began to threaten Southeast Asia, FDR froze Japanese assets in US banks, resulting in a cutoff of Japanese oil supplies. This was considered an act of war by Japan, and Japanese retaliation was expected by American planners. As the Japanese fleet approached Pearl Harbor, intelligence services in Britain and the US evidently knew of that approach.
British Prime Minister Churchill notified his Pacific commanders that the Japanese were heading for Pearl Harbor. FDR, on the other hand, did not notify his commanders. Instead, he sent the most strategic ships (the aircraft carriers) out to sea where they would be safe, and instructed key observation outposts on the island of Kauai to stand down. It was over Kauai that the Japanese made their approach to Pearl Harbor.
It seems that FDR intentionally set the stage for a ‘surprise’ attack – shocking the nation and instantly shifting public opinion from non-interventionism to war frenzy. I am suggesting that this same scenario must be considered in the case of the recent WTC and Pentagon attacks. Unbelievable as this may seem, this is a scenario that matches the modus operandi of US ruling elites. These elites show callous disregard for civilian lives in Iraq, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and dozens of other places around the world. Is it so surprising that they would sacrifice a few thousand American civilians if they considered that necessary in order to pursue their geopolitical objectives?
Let us now consider in more detail the possible motives for such a crime scenario.
Global Capitalism in Crisis
Capitalism must have growth and change in order to operate. The engine of capitalism is driven by wealthy investors who put their money into the economy in order to increase their wealth. If the economy offers no growth opportunities, then investors withdraw their money and the whole system collapses. A minor collapse is called a recession, and a major collapse is called a depression. The history of capitalism is punctuated by such collapses.
Capitalism came into existence along with the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s in Scotland and northern England. Before that time societies were not based primarily on growth. Certainly there were people before then who sought to increase their wealth, but economies as a whole did not require growth in order to operate. Societies were ruled by aristocratic elites whose wealth was measured by the estates they owned, and the peasants who worked their land. Such aristocrats were more interested in stability than change, and more concerned with maintaining their estates than with economic growth.
When the Industrial Revolution came along then all this began to change. With the cotton gin, steam engine, and other new technologies, it became possible for an entrepreneur to make a great deal of wealth rapidly. A new wealthy elite began to emerge made up inventors, industrialists, bankers, and traders. These were the people who built the factories, invested in them, and figured out ways to get the new products to markets.
The interests of this new elite clashed with those of the old aristocratic elite. The aristocrats favored stability, and laws which provided stability – such as tariffs, price controls, etc. The new elite, on the other hand, wanted change and growth – they wanted to develop new products, build new factories, and capture new markets. While aristocratic wealth was based on land and stability, industrial wealth was based on investment, development, change, and growth.
This new kind of economics, based on investment and growth, came to be known as capitalism. And the new elite, gaining its wealth through change and growth, is the capitalist elite. At first capitalism existed alongside aristocracy, competing with it to control the laws of society. But then in Britain, and later in other nations, the capitalist elite won out. Laws, economies, and societies were transformed to favor capitalism and growth over stability and land-based wealth. Banking, monetary systems, and taxation were re-engineered so as to compel businesses to seek growth whether they wanted to or not. Thus our economies were transformed into engines designed to increase elite wealth. Rather than economies which serve the needs of societies, we have societies which serve the needs of capital growth.
No one can deny that capitalism and its growth have brought many kinds of benefits to some people. America was based on capitalism from its very founding, and American wealth and prosperity are legendary. But there is a fundamental problem with capitalism. How is it possible for an economy to grow endlessly? How can growth be forever achieved in a finite world? Is capitalism, in the final analysis, sustainable?
In fact, providing for ongoing growth has been the primary challenge faced by every nation that has adopted capitalism. The history of the 19th and 20th centuries has been primarily the story of nations competing for markets and resources to support growth. Our history books tell us about noble causes and evil enemies, but in truth every significant war since 1800 has been about competition among Great Powers for economic growth.
Before capitalism, nations built empires because kings or individuals were greedy and wanted more territory and wealth. After capitalism, nations developed empires out of necessity. If they didn’t expand their markets and access to resources their economies would collapse. As industrial capitalism got into high gear in the late 1800s, that was accompanied by an unprecedented expansion of imperialism on a global scale.
From 1800 until 1945 the world system was a matter of competition among Great Powers for empires, in order to provide for capitalist growth. In each empire there was a core nation which ruled over peripheral territories. The peripheral territories were exploited in order to provide growth for the core ruling nation. The populations of the core nations were convinced by propaganda that they were helping or aiding the periphery to develop. This propaganda was lies. The fact was suppression, exploitation, and the prevention of healthy development in the periphery – so as to enable capitalism to flourish in the core Great Powers.
In 1945 this global system was radically changed. Under American leadership, with the help of both incentives and coercion, a new paradigm of capitalist growth was launched. Instead of competitive imperialism, a regime of cooperative imperialism was instituted. Under the protection of the American military, the so-called “Free World ” was opened to exploitation by capitalism generally. This led to the rise of immense transnational corporations which were no longer limited in their growth to a single national empire. This new post-1945 system was invented in order to provide another round of growth to capitalism.
Under the post-1945 system, part of the scheme was to provide prosperity to the Western middle classes. In Europe, the USA, and in Japan as well, populations experienced unprecedented prosperity. Cooperative imperialism provided immense growth room for capitalism, and the wealth was being shared with the core-nation populations.
But no matter what system might be set up, growth eventually runs into the limits of that system. The post-1945 system was no exception. By the early 1970s the growth machine was beginning to slow down. Recessions began to replace prosperity. As a consequence, the global capitalist elite designed yet another system, offering yet another round of capitalist growth. This new system goes under the name ‘neoliberalism’, and it was launched under the auspices of Ronald Reagan in the USA and Margaret Thatcher in the UK.
The purpose of neoliberalism was to steal the wealth of the prosperous capitalist nations and transfer that wealth to the capitalist elite and the corporations which they own and control. That’s what privatization, deregulation, and other so-called ‘reforms’ were all about. In addition, neoliberalism was aimed at disempowering democracy itself – because it was the democratic nations which were implementing laws which limited the power of corporations. Any limit on the power of corporations is a limit on their ability to grow. And the one thing capitalism cannot tolerate is limits to its growth. That is a matter of life and death to capitalism.
Again, as must always happen, the neoliberal system also began to run out of growth room. In this case, the system only provided growth for about ten years, the decade of the 1980s. And thus we were brought to the era of globalization. Propaganda tells us that globalization is simply the continuation of ‘natural’ trends in technology, trade, and commerce. This is not true. Globalization represents an intentional and radical policy shift on the part of the global capitalist elite.
Globalization amounts to four radical changes in the world system. These are:
(1) the destabilization of and removal of sovereignty from Western nation states
(2) the establishment of an essentially fascist world government under the direct control of the capitalist elite
(3) the greatly accelerated exploitation and suppression of the third-world
(4) the gradual downgrading of Western living conditions toward third-world standards
By these means, elites hope to achieve yet another round of capital growth.
During most of the decade of the 1990s globalization proceeded almost unnoticed by the world’s population. The World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) began to establish their tentacles of power without publicity. Government leaders worldwide, under the pressure of capitalist elites, were quietly signing their sovereignty over to the new global institutions. When globalization was mentioned at all in the media, it was described in propaganda terms as sharing ‘progress’ with the downtrodden of the world.
And then in December 1999 the people of the world began to wake up. The demonstrations in Seattle marked the beginning of a new global movement. In fairness, one must acknowledge that there were earlier signs of the movement in Europe and the third world. But only when the movement reached the USA did it become ‘real’ in the eyes of the world. And ever since Seattle the movement has been growing by leaps and bounds on a global scale.
The movement does not yet have well-defined goals, but it is a very promising and very radical movement. It is based on a clear understanding that global capitalism is leading us to ecological disaster and to tyranny. The movement does not have a clear organizational structure, but that itself is promising. The decentralized nature of the movement points the way to a new kind of genuine, locally-based democracy – a democracy that is not subject to elite manipulation as have been our Western pseudo-democracies with their manufactured ‘majorities’.
Having presented this (highly abbreviated) historical background, I can now describe the nature of ‘the global crisis of capitalism’. On the one hand, the capitalist elite must accelerate the pace of globalization in order to continue providing room for capital growth. On the other hand, the people of the world, including in the West, have begun to wake up and oppose the dangerous and ominous path of globalization. The elite know that as the path of globalization is pursued more vigorously, more and more people will rise in opposition. The crisis of globalization is a crisis of population control, requiring tightened political management of the people of Europe and North America.
People in the third world have been subjected to imperialist tyranny for centuries, and this has been possible because of suppression by Western military force. If the people of the West arise in opposition to globalization, then the hegemony of the capitalist elite is seriously threatened. This is the crisis of global capitalism.
“War on Terrorism” – A Solution to Capitalism’s Crisis
President Bush calls it a “War on Terrorism”, but what is it really? Let’s look at some of the specifics...
• Congress has authorized the President to do “whatever is necessary”.
• Congress has allocated 40 billion dollars to do “whatever”.
• The $40 billion came from Social Security funds.
• $15 billion is being allocated to bail out the airline industry. Thus, terrorism is being used as an excuse to steal the savings of workers and transfer it to large corporations, including airlines and weapons contractors.
• For the first time, NATO has invoked the treaty clause which says “an attack on one nation is an attack on all”.
• We’ve been told to expect significant curtailment of civil liberties.
• Bush declared that “Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”
• Fleets, planes, and ground troops have been dispatched to the Middle East to do “whatever”.
• We are to expect a long, protracted war, much of which will be covert and we won’t be told what happened even after it’s all over.
• After Bin Laden is dealt with, Secretary of State Colin Powell tells us “we will then broaden the campaign to go after other terrorist organizations and forms of terrorism around the world.”
• Bush tells us that “We will use every necessary weapon of war”, and “Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen.”
• The Pentagon specifically refuses to rule out the use of nuclear weapons.
This is a very comprehensive agenda. Bush has a blank check to do whatever he wants, wherever he wants, using whatever means he chooses. He has made it clear he intends to pull no punches and that he will keep drawing on this blank check for a long time to come. From such an agenda, one cannot easily predict where it will all lead. In such a case, it is instructive to look at the historical precedents.
Pearl Harbor aroused the wrath of Americans against the Japanese... but as soon as the blank check was signed, it was Europe that received the initial focus of American military attention. After the Battleship Maine was blown up (from an internal explosion we have since learned), the thirst for revenge was translated into the imperialist capture of the Philippines. In other words, when one of these outrage incidents occurs, the modus operandi of the US elite is to pursue whatever objectives are most important to it – regardless of the incident that provided the blank check.
Karzai begging for more time
December 9, 2009
Afghan Says Army Will Need Help Until 2024
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and ELISABETH BUMILLER
KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that Afghanistan would not be able to pay for its own security until at least 2024, underscoring his government’s long-term financial dependence on the United States and NATO even as President Obama has pledged to begin withdrawing American troops in 2011.
Mr. Karzai spoke at a news conference here with the American secretary of defense, Robert M. Gates, who did not put a timetable on the American and allied financial commitment but acknowledged that there was a “realism on our part that it will be some time before Afghanistan is able to sustain its security forces entirely on its own.”
The news conference came just hours after as many as a dozen people were killed during an American raid in Laghman Province, Afghan officials said, prompting hundreds of villagers to march in protest.
The early morning operation outside the provincial capital of Mehtar Lam, east of Kabul, happened “without any coordination with the Afghan forces or Afghan officials,” said Sayed Ahmed Safi, a spokesman for the governor of Laghman.
He said one woman was among the dead, which included civilians as well as insurgents, all killed by small-arms fire. He said the troops also detained four other men.
After Afghan security forces blocked marchers from entering Mehtar Lam, gunfire broke out, killing one protester and wounding two others, he said.
NATO confirmed the raid and said that seven militants were killed but that there were no “reports to substantiate those claims of harming civilians, including women and children.”
The target of the raid was a Taliban bomb maker. A military spokesman said he did not know whether the troops involved were American or from another NATO country.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said a delegation had been sent to investigate and urged residents not to resort to violence.
If the dead are confirmed to be civilians, the raid would be one of the worst recent episodes of civilian casualties, which have engendered antipathy toward American and NATO forces among Afghan citizens and officials.
The American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, tightened rules on airstrikes last summer in an effort to reduce civilian casualties.
But while civilian casualties continue to anger Afghan officials, Mr. Karzai’s comments on Tuesday highlighted just how much the government could be forced to rely on the United States and NATO countries for decades to come.
“For another 15 to 20 years, Afghanistan will not be able to sustain a force of that nature and capability with its own resources,” Mr. Karzai said, referring to the force required to secure the entire country.
The subject was one of the main reasons Mr. Gates arrived here Tuesday on an unannounced visit, where he said a major topic of discussion with Mr. Karzai would be how fast the Afghans could recruit, train and retain their own security forces, the key to the planned American withdrawal that is supposed to begin in July 2011.
The price of building up Afghan forces to take over significant security duties could be enormous. Some estimates say it will take up to $50 billion over five years to increase army and police rolls to 400,000, the level sought by General McChrystal.
At the news conference, Mr. Gates held out the possibility that a future improvement in Afghanistan’s finances would allay some of the costs.
“Whether that is 15 or 20 years, we’ll hope for accelerated economic development in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that “as the Afghan economy expands, then the proportion of the costs of supporting the Afghan security forces will diminish.”
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