November 23, 2009 |
As President Obama measures the potential burden of a new war strategy in Afghanistan, his administration is struggling to come up with even the most dispassionate of predictions: the actual price tag for the anticipated buildup of troops. The calculations so far have produced a sweeping range. 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. In coming up with such numbers, the White House and the military have different priorities as well as different methods.
November 13, 2009 |
The White House sent its strongest signal yet Thursday that it is searching for an eventual way out of Afghanistan even as it considers sending thousands of additional troops to join the war there. Emphasizing the importance of timetables for U.S. involvement, administration officials stressed that President Obama is concerned about how long American troops will remain in the country and wants to avoid an "open-ended" commitment. "We have been there for eight years, and we're not going to be there forever," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters.
October 30, 2009 |
President Obama traveled overnight to meet the flag-draped caskets of 18 Americans killed in military service this week, the height of the bloodiest month for the U.S. in the war in Afghanistan. The president flew unannounced to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware by Marine helicopter to be present for the arrival of the fallen troops. The solemn visit was the first of its kind for Obama and came as he is withdrawing troops from Iraq but contemplating a troop increase in Afghanistan.
October 27, 2009 |
On a day when 14 U.S. servicemen and drug agents were killed in helicopter crashes in Afghanistan, the largest such toll in more than four years, momentum continued to build to send more troops to the war zone. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a Washington address that he would support a decision by President Obama to "send some additional troops" provided improvements are made in Afghan troop training and government, and civilian aid efforts are increased.
October 19, 2009 |
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, an Orange County conservative, and Rep. Barbara Lee, a Bay Area liberal, are about as far apart ideologically as anybody in Congress. Yet both oppose a troop increase in Afghanistan. As President Obama ponders a new war strategy and members of Congress stake out their positions, Rohrabacher and Lee have become the political odd couple. "Sending in more U.S. combat troops is not the answer," Rohrabacher said in a speech on the House floor last week, breaking from his fellow Republicans, most of whom back a troop increase.
October 9, 2009 |
Key Democrats on Capitol Hill warned Thursday that a decision by President Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan could trigger an uprising within the party, possibly including an attempt to cut off funds for the buildup. "I believe we need to more narrowly focus our efforts and have a much more achievable and targeted policy in that region," said Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Otherwise, he said, "we run the risk of repeating the mistakes we made in Vietnam and the Russians made in Afghanistan."