British ex-soldier, Joe Glenton, was jailed for refusing to return to Afghanistan in a war he believed to be unjustified. On November 19 he handed back his medal to Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street, as a protest against the war in Afghanistan.
Glenton’s story was told in a Press TV documentary earlier this year. Watch parts one, two and three. (Thanks to a reader for passing along the report about Glenton’s protest and yesterday’s rally in London.)
Meanwhile, Politico reports:
President Barack Obama and nearly 50 world leaders attending the NATO Summit that concluded here Saturday adopted a call to give the Afghan government control over its own security by 2014.
Not so much talked about, in public anyway, were some of the toughest decisions that may be required to get there.
With the public in the U.S and particularly in Europe losing patience with the Afghan mission, the NATO announcement seemed intended to generate headlines or at least a public perception of a plan for withdrawal.
In fact, the transition plan is more of a hope than a detailed roadmap. The provinces to be handed over next year by NATO and U.S. forces have yet to be selected, officials said, and the prospects for transition in parts of the country facing the fiercest fighting are murky at best. Decisions about whether to negotiate with the Taliban have yet to be made and disagreements remain about what concessions could be made.
[T]he Pentagon on Thursday said the goal of handing over security duties to the Afghans in 2014 was “aspirational.”
“Although the hope is, the goal is, to have Afghan security forces in the lead over the preponderance of the country by then, it does not necessarily mean that … everywhere in the country they will necessarily be in the lead,” said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell.
Crunching the numbers
So how much extra would it cost if the bulk of the withdrawal starts rather than finishes around 2014? About $125 billion, says Mr. Harrison at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, at that’s just through 2014. He uses two different troop level scenarios – one high, and one low. He calculates costs based $1.1 million per soldier per year, which reflects the five-year average in Afghanistan.
The lower cost – $288 billion – assumes that the troops involved in Obama’s surge would be withdrawn by 2012, and that by the end of 2014 only 30,000 US troops would remain. The higher cost – $413 billion – assumes no drawdown will happen until 2013, and 70,000 US troops would remain by the end of 2014. The difference: $125 billion.