U.S. Troops Commitment in Afghanistan

June 27, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

In 2008 prior to leaving office, President George W. Bush had authorized 9,000 troops Brigade Combat team for Afghanistan and they were scheduled to join in January 2009.

After the new administration was sworn into office, in February and March 2009 President Barack Obama approved additional 21,000 troops deployment to Afghanistan for arrival in spring and summer of 2009.

The Presidential address on June 22, 2011 to the nation and the world on Afghanistan troop commitment was laid out claiming the 30,000 troops surge in 2010 will be gradually withdrawn beginning July 2011 with an estimated 10,000 to be pulled by the year end and the remaining of the 30,000 to return by 2012 summer.

Subsequent to possible 30,000 troop surge withdrawal the contingency comprises at least U.S. 100,000 and NATO as well as coalition combined approximately 50,000 troops.

In addition to Afghanistan national police, the Afghan security forces are over 100,000 per the Presidential statement and Department of Defense (DOD) account.

Notwithstanding the troops engaged in Afghan operation under OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) apart from Afghanistan are Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan…in the region and the periphery.

Further U.S intelligence and mercenary are involved on the ground in Pakistan as paramilitary forces to counteract the less than one hundred Al Qaeda members supposedly driven from Afghanistan to Pakistan following the decade old combat mission in the war torn country.

As for the Afghan Taliban – again the negligible number in comparison with the U.S. and NATO consolidated engagement are opposed to U.S. and NATO appointed government in Kabul and never found posing a threat to U.S and allies’ national security at any time.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai under U.S and NATO authority is in agreement to massive foreign troops presence extending beyond 2014 – a situation similar to Iraq with U.S. selected government led by Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki creating local insurgency against foreign military occupation and the respective heads of the state perceived as the puppet figures for foreign power.

The latest killing of 5 U.S. soldiers in June 2011 and previously April 2011 declared the deadliest month in Iraq is suggestive of the sentiments prevalent among the factions against U.S. occupation in any format either combat or security personnel training.

These incidents serve as the pretext to extend occupation beyond the bilateral agreement to leave the country.

The identical policies in the two nations – Afghanistan and Iraq for both strategic and economic dominance has lost credibility with unconvincing withdrawals from combat position to preparing the Afghani and Iraqi security forces for national defense only contributes to draining U.S and allies’ treasury precipitating economic decline worldwide.

Meanwhile the quagmires are leading Afghanistan and Iraq to the point of no return on economic and political viability facilitating prolonged foreign military retention to curb cyclical violence.

The outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the former military command General David Petraeus emphasized on U.S. permanent base in Iraq with the possibility to continue having troops in the beleaguered nation.

Likewise Afghanistan is being maneuvered in that direction with the over reaching timetable lacking in definitive milestones.

With respect to the mounting economic burden on U.S and allies taxpayers funding the protracted warfare surrounding the ambiguous timeline for complete pull out  –

The cost factor has not been mentioned in the Presidential speech considering the relevance at any time particularly when the debate on raising the national debt ceiling is contentious resulting in the existing gridlock between the White House and the Republican members in the House and Senate.

Raw data on the expenditure incurred in the two wars thus far is reported to be a staggering $1.6 trillion and despite the projected drawdowns in the near and distant future the economic costs is expected to exceed over $2.6 trillion given the stated occupation until 2014 and thereafter

Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen quoted during congressional hearing on June 23, 2011 that Afghanistan war alone is costing U.S. taxpayers $10 billion per month.

Department of Defense (DOD) has increased baseline funding requirement by $8 billion in order to avoid the war fatigue stimulated fund reduction earlier secured through supplemental appropriation bill in Congress.

The operational costs pertaining to military personnel, training Afghan and Iraqi security forces, counter-terrorism using various methods from boots in ground to unmanned aerial attacks,

Not to mention the 15,000 troops in undisclosed location as classified operatives, constant replenishing of stockpiles, defense supplies and equipments…all falling under operation and maintenance category has direct impact on the fiscal year budget.

It is equally important to shed light on Afghanistan and Iraq economies stalled by systemic breakdowns in national governance emanating from weak administrations and disruptions attributed to foreign invasion related violence.

Hence the costs to restore military capability in Afghanistan and Iraq are currently met by the taxpayers of the participating nations.

Also not factored in the equation is the military aid to neighboring Pakistan bearing economic liabilities for U.S and incessant internal turmoil in Pakistan.

The Presidential statement affirmed the following principles that are unfortunately not adhered to on many issues.

“We’re a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law and respecting the rights of all our citizens.”

The alleged killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan had no prior approval from the United States Congress or the sovereign Pakistan Parliament and the U.S. as well as global citizens request for credible evidence confirming the action ignored with the case closed asserting that Presidential discretionary powers exercised in this matter.

Additionally in terms of respecting the rights of citizens – the Patriot Act allowing government unlimited access to the public’s private life is anything but honoring the citizen’s rights.

“We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others. We stand not for empire, but for self-determination. That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab world.

We will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example, and with an unwavering belief that all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.”

The war torn nations – Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain with U.S and allies’ strong influence prove otherwise.

When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don’t have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. Instead, we must rally international action, which we’re doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground, but are supporting allies in protecting the Libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their own destiny.”

Libyan current reality is testimony to economic aspirations overriding humanitarian cause.

The illegitimate government under Muammar Gaddafi leadership is indeed slaughtering and ordering mass murder of innocent civilians.

On United States watch the Libyan leader continues to remain in power with oppression accepted as the fact of life in the Arab world.

There is no urgency or necessity felt among U.S. and coalition to indict leader Muammar Gaddafi and family for war crimes in the International Court of Justice to enable people victory in Libya.

However, the U.S initiative in using International Court of Justice in 2010 against Lebanon brought down the democratically elected government demonstrating the U.S and allies selective pursuits for political, strategic and economic benefits.

Notably Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain are favored against Syria though the citizens in all of these nations share common goals – freedom and democracy, economic, social and political prospects not to mention their experience with identical government crackdowns to quell dissent.

American dream in the twenty first century is compromised with rising deficit, deep economic recession, poor job market and growing inflation stemming from burgeoning costs in military expansion across the globe.

United States and coalition can no longer sustain the public wealth depletion since wars are now conducted on borrowed money saddling the present and future generations with enormous debt denying the average citizens the ability to attain their individual life ambitions.

Therefore procrastination in bringing troops home is imprudent and not learning from history i.e. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos would be analogous to anticipating different results from failed methods.

Besides monetary obligations the ultimate price paid on warfare is sacrificing precious lives from all sides whether the victims are 18 and 19 year old combat soldiers or five to ninety year old civilian, the bloodshed until now and later to assist the defense industry profits renders life easily dispensable.

Human resources is an integral part of a nation’s capital and utilizing the core services constructively would increase productivity in a peaceful environment rather than pursuing persistent universal military installations to safeguard defense sector’s profitability.

With economies on the brink of collapse, it would be wise to focus on nation building in creating jobs, strengthening local manufacturing, improving domestic status on all fronts to provide for fair income distribution that could inevitably alleviate human suffering.

The war strategies from military command and Defense department to win public and congressional trust do not indicate clear exit motives from any location restricting peace emergence in the occupied territories.

When the simple maxim – live and let others live in peace is wholeheartedly practiced then peace, progress and prosperity will naturally pervade world over.

Human desires surpassing human wants endangering life and habitat is the fundamental problem in the contemporary era.

Protectionism in wealth accumulation at the global population despair and disadvantage in the globalized economy is yet another grim characteristic of personal gains primordial for some to thrive leaving the rest struggling to survive.

Power come into play with calculated tactics applied in targeted areas to absorb functionality accentuating vulnerability among people for self-promotion and specific agenda.

Global connectivity having become the convenient link – the opportunity for positive and negative aspects is explored and in some instances exploited exacerbating human plight and national welfare.

Peaceful protests seeking paradigm shift in political system throughout Middle East is a classic example where persecuted dissidents’ voices are being heard but global leaderships’ passiveness is restraining transformation from taking place.

Corporate and military dominance centered on territorial and assets acquisition at the vast majority’s detriment is predominantly responsible for the status quo.

As a result political upheavals are common for nations deprived of sovereignty with foreign rule dictating terms and conditions under the guise of spreading democracy and nation building.

Military aggression replaced with economic development, educational facilities, life saving projects such as clean drinking water, irrigational sources in the drought prone areas to improve farming, hospitals and last but not the least infrastructure investment would guarantee precipitous ending to unmitigated violence in the perpetual war zones.

Accordingly national efforts and achievements in this regard utilizing the disproportionate defense divestments and eliminating wasteful spending would not only revive economic growth but also contain fiscal woes in the escalating financial crisis.

Political will is quintessential to steer the nation forward in all frontiers.

Leaders and public officials as elected representatives exemplifying unequivocal pledge to serve the people and the country they govern by resisting influences from within and outside that is regressive would enhance national endowments setting the path towards bipartisanship crucial in recognizing the mutual ideas and concerns as necessary checks and balances to pass legislation affecting millions of lives at home and around the world.

Reverting to Afghanistan – the Afghan nationals deserve a new beginning free of foreign determination to elect, govern and chart the course for them with international assistance flowing to empower people in expediting the desirable outcome.

Afghanistan is at the crossroads to resurrect and rebuild the nation in rubbles to a peaceful vibrant economic center in Central Asia, fostering diplomatic and trade relationships with Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka…in the Indian sub-continent.

Military interventions and wars have diminished hopes and deteriorated economic conditions with overwhelming segments in the society living in abject poverty, poor literacy rates known to have hampered young girls and women’s rights forcing them to dependency often enduring social injustice in modern times.

Afghanistan has great potential to evolve and integrate with the millennium concept rich in diversity, innovations and inspirational accomplishments without having to disinherit the salient cultural heritage unique to every society.

Political emancipation and peaceful atmosphere is paramount in overcoming obstacles on the path to recovery.

Afghanistan is also faced with crippling corruption scandals at every step of the way and reversing the trend in this context would call for national awakening with grassroots support enforcing the code of conduct into effective law.

Optimism, steel resolve and national unity are the keys to success in the evolutionary process.

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant





















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