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The Pentagon and the White House are in disagreement if it will cost the U.S. $20 billion or $40 billion in 2010 to send more troops to Afghanistan.
The LA Times reports that pricing an Afghanistan troop buildup is no simple calculation.
The Pentagon publicly estimates it will cost $500,000 a year for every additional service member sent to the war zone. Obama’s budget experts size it up at twice that much…
The Office of Management and Budget says adding 40,000 troops would cost about $40 billion a year, or $1 million each. White House officials included in their estimate everything they consider necessary to wage war, including troop housing and equipment.
And today the president said he will ‘finish the job‘ in Afghanistan.
From the White House transcript:
I think that the review that we’ve gone through has been comprehensive and extremely useful, and has brought together my key military advisors, but also civilian advisors. I can tell you, as I’ve said before, that it is in our strategic interest, in our national security interest to make sure that al Qaeda and its extremist allies cannot operate effectively in those areas. We are going to dismantle and degrade their capabilities and ultimately dismantle and destroy their networks. And Afghanistan’s stability is important to that process.
I’ve also indicated that after eight years — some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done — it is my intention to finish the job. And I feel very confident that when the American people hear a clear rationale for what we’re doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals that they will be supportive.
What ‘clear rationale’ can possibly exist while Americans are out of work and going hungry…
Unemployment stands now at 17.5 percent according to the U-6 measure from the Department of Labor. According to the NY Times, “the measure would almost certainly be at its highest level since the Great Depression. In all, more than one out of every six workers… were unemployed or underemployed in October. The previous recorded high was 17.1 percent, in December 1982.”
“More than 49 million Americans were at risk to go hungry in 2008,” according to the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The 2008 Household Food Security Report found that the number of households experiencing food insecurity jumped more than 11% from 13 million households in 2007 to 17 million in 2008, and that an estimated 1.1 million children lived in households that experienced hunger multiple times throughout the year.”
What ‘clear rationale’ can possibly exist while the country is falling apart…
The nation’s sewers are at capacity and human waste poisons our water, reports the NY Times. “In the last three years alone, more than 9,400 of the nation’s 25,000 sewage systems – including those in major cities – have reported violating the law by dumping untreated or partly treated human waste, chemicals and other hazardous materials into rivers and lakes and elsewhere, according to data from state environmental agencies and the Environmental Protection Agency.”
“Decades of underfunding and inattention have jeopardized the ability of our nation’s infrastructure to support our economy,” according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. The ASCS estimates American needs a five year
investment of $2.2 trillion to repair the country’s rails, roads, dams, parks, schools, and so forth.
What ‘clear rationale’ can possibly exist while the nation is spending money it does not have…
The NY Times reports a wave of debt payments soon face the government.
With the national debt now topping $12 trillion, the White House estimates that the government’s tab for servicing the debt will exceed $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion this year, even if annual budget deficits shrink drastically. Other forecasters say the figure could be much higher.
In concrete terms, an additional $500 billion a year in interest expense would total more than the combined federal budgets this year for education, energy, homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Is “bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy” the ‘job’ that needs to be finished?
I hope the president’s cryptic words do not signal his intention to send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan as McClatchy reports its anonymous sources are saying.
U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan already outnumber the Taliban 12-1, according to the AP. The U.S. already has roughly the same number of troops deployed to Afghanistan as the Soviets did at the height of their war.
What ‘clear rationale’ can justify more troops being sent and more money being spent for Afghanistan?
Cross-posted from Daily Kos.