High costs weigh on troop debate for Afghan war

High costs weigh on troop debate for Afghan war

While President Obama’s decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan is primarily a military one, it also has substantial budget implications that are adding pressure to limit the commitment, senior administration officials say.

The latest internal government estimates place the cost of adding 40,000 American troops and sharply expanding the Afghan security forces, as favored by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American and allied commander in Afghanistan, at $40 billion to $54 billion a year, the officials said.

Even if fewer troops are sent, or their mission is modified, the rough formula used by the White House, of about $1 million per soldier a year, appears almost constant.

So even if Mr. Obama opts for a lower troop commitment, Afghanistan’s new costs could wash out the projected $26 billion expected to be saved in 2010 from withdrawing troops from Iraq. And the overall military budget could rise to as much as $734 billion, or 10 percent more than the peak of $667 billion under the Bush administration. [continued…]

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2 thoughts on “High costs weigh on troop debate for Afghan war

  1. Dieter Heymann, Houston, USA

    It is telling that the Obama administration, according to “senior administration officials”, worries more about the cost of expanding the war in Afghanistan than about the mood of the people of our country, most of whom, according to recent polls, seem to oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan.

  2. DE Tedodoru

    Obama is victim of his campaign’s cynical excuse: hold base by calling for Iraq withdrawal while calling for Afghan focus so Republicans can’t call him “soft” on terrorism. Now he’s screwed because we CANNOT afford either war. A political campaign gimmick becomes a presidential trap. But this can be moment when he revitalizes his heroic image announcing that pride of incompetent commanders is not worth blood of mom and dad soldiers nor of 15X as many vets dying annually from lack of healthcare (VA covers only 5 yrs) as soldiers dying in Iraq/Afghan wars. Only courage on war will revitalize prestige needed for domestic victories. Already the e-links with his base are going dark. Principled courage will light them up again, Mr. President, so be like Truman to McArthur with McChrystal the myth-maker.

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