From the blog at the Weekly Standard, which I believe recommends a more aggressive policy in Afghanistan than does Econblog Review, the first criticism EBR has seen that joins its recent comparison of Barack Obama to LBJ (Lyndon Obama? If So, Inflation and Other Bad Things Await):
When President Obama first announced his Afghan strategy, John McCain warned that the failure to commit enough troops to the fight would inevitably lead to a "Lyndon Johnson-style" incremental escalation. Indeed, in early June the Pentagon "quietly" sent an additional 1,000 special operations troops to Afghanistan "to bolster a larger conventional troop buildup" that was already well underway. And now today comes a report from the Washington Post that General McChrystal has concluded that,
...Afghan security forces will have to expand far beyond currently planned levels if President Obama's strategy for winning the war there is to succeed, according to senior military officials.
Such an expansion would require additional billions beyond the $7.5 billion the administration has budgeted annually to build up the Afghan army and police over the next several years, and the likely deployment of
thousands more U.S. troops as trainers and advisers, officials said.
The president had to know this was coming. There was no reason to doubt General McKiernan's estimate of the number of troops that would be necessary to get the job done -- an estimate that Obama choose to ignore for reasons that were obviously political. And as was the case during the Bush administration, allowing domestic politics to dictate force levels in a conflict is a recipe for disaster -- and escalation. If this causes a "whiskey tango foxtrot moment" at the White House, Obama will have no one to blame but himself.
DoctoRx here now. Priorities are in order. After one not-so-minor war in Iraq is (?) winding down and one relatively minor war in Afghanistan was holding steady, the alleged anti-war candidate is taking the latter war to a new level and egging Pakistan to do so the same, largely to its own citizens. EBR is dubious that the U. S. can afford all this aggression initiated by us. Sometimes you have to know when to fold 'em. We can leave Afghanistan to the Afghans and tell whoever is in charge that if its territory is used for another 9/11 equivalent or worse, it can expect devastation.
Remember that Osama bin Laden predicted that the 9/11 attacks would not only knock down the Twin Towers, they would knock down the U. S. economy. A credit bubble brought a false mid-decade "recovery". Continued flailing about with waste of more resources in the moonscape of Afghanistan and Pakistan's ungoverned territories may prove Osama correct.
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