U.S. Military Takes Long-Term Lease With Option to Buy in Iraq & Afghanistan

Remember those campaign promises to bring a swift and honorable peace in the two wars that President Obama inherited? Forget about it.

Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, said Tuesday his planning envisions combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade as part of a sustained U.S. commitment to fighting extremism and terrorism in the Middle East.

"Global trends are pushing in the wrong direction," Casey said. "They fundamentally will change how the Army works."

The U.S. currently has about 139,000 troops in Iraq. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Iraqi government in February that all U.S. troops would be out of that country by 2012. Except, of course, for the ones that Gen. Casey wants to keep there:

Casey would not specify how combat units would be divided between Iraq and Afghanistan. He said U.S. ground commander Gen. Ray Odierno is leading a study to determine how far U.S. forces could be cut back in Iraq and still be effective. Casey said his comments about the long war in Iraq were not meant to conflict with administration policies.

And don't get confused in Afghanistan, either. We're not building up troop levels, assures the AP, despite the fact that, well, we're putting more people there.

Obama campaigned on ending the Iraq war as quickly as possible and refocusing U.S. resources on what he called the more important fight in Afghanistan.

That will not mean a major influx of U.S. fighting forces on the model of the Iraq "surge," however. Obama has agreed to send about 21,000 combat forces and trainers to Afghanistan this year. Combined with additional forces approved before President George W. Bush left office, the United States is expected to have about 68,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of this year. That's about double the total at the end of 2008, but Obama's top military and civilian advisers have indicated the total is unlikely to grow much beyond that.

You got that? You double the total of troops in a year, but that's not an increase worth worrying about and besides, the president's top military and civilian advisers have said it's not "unlikely to grow much beyond that." Except for the Army chief of staff, who says that his vision of a "long" war doesn't conflict with his commander's vision of a short war, which includes doubling the total of troops in Afghanistan...

This all sounds like a bad episode of M*A*S*H, where Trapper and Hawkeye confront spinmeister Army brass who just don't care about the kids being sent to them for meatball surgery. More than that, it sounds like either no one is in charge or, scarier still, these characters know exactly what they're doing, which is working a pliant press corps and b.s.'ing their way through a P.R. campaign that's far more effective than whatever it is we're doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Update: I forgot to link to the actual AP story above. Here 'tis. Thanks to Eric Hanneken in comments for doing so hours ago.

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  • ||

    But Libertarians had to vote for Obama. McCain would have kept us in Iraq for 100 years.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    President Obama is coming around to the correct assessment, a reversal of his backward rhetoric during the election. Not bad.

    Or, it is just dawning on him that failure in a war is something that more Americans hate worse than the minority of his Liberal buddies hate winning them.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    But Libertarians had to vote for Obama. McCain would have kept us in Iraq for 100 years.

    LOL, that too.

  • ||

    I voted for McCain and McCain probably would have pursued the same strategy. So I really can't fault Obama for this. But I can sure as hell laugh at the peaceniks with the "End this war" bumber stickers who voted for the chosen one. Suckers!!

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    John,

    Other than Weigel. Who were all these libertarians that supposedly voted for Obama?

  • Joel||

    Hey, don't blame me! I didn't vote for him. Or for McCain, or for Barr.

    "If you don't vote, you don't get to complain," my ass. If you do vote, you bought the bullshit and...don't get to complain.

    Unless you want to.

  • ||

    My boss sent us an email this morning requesting that we start wearing red shirts every friday to show that we support the troops. The email said we should thank our troops for keeping us free. I don't see how our conflict in Iraq and AfPac has anything to do with keeping us free. If anything, it makes us less secure by sparking the flames of terrorism against us.

  • ||

    "John,

    Other than Weigel. Who were all these libertarians that supposedly voted for Obama?"

    I think Bailey did or at least one other person at Reason. Then of course there is a good portion of Obama voters who post on here and at least claim to be libertarians.

    At what point do these wars become Obama's wars? Yes, Bush started them. But at some point Obama's failure to end them and in fact escalate one of them makes them his wars. Do liberals now support these wars? If so, do they plan to join up? If not doesn't that make them chickenhawks who just want to send other people's kids off to die in Obama's wars? God this stuff is fun sometimes.

  • ||

    "I don't see how our conflict in Iraq and AfPac has anything to do with keeping us free."

    Afghanistan did provide aid and support to people who attacked us. Are we supposed to let those people back in power? But good for you for being honest and including Afghanistan along with Iraq. I always knew that your type would turn on Afghanistan as well and the whole "Iraq distracted us from the real just war in Afghanistan" was nothing but a load of horseshit. At least you are consistent.

  • ||

    "Or, it is just dawning on him that failure in a war is something that more Americans hate worse than the minority of his Liberal buddies hate winning them."

    Do the majority of Americans want us to stay in Iraq and AfPac indefinitely at the expense of more American blood spilt and American treasure lost?

  • ||

    "Afghanistan did provide aid and support to people who attacked us. Are we supposed to let those people back in power? But good for you for being honest and including Afghanistan along with Iraq. I always knew that your type would turn on Afghanistan as well and the whole "Iraq distracted us from the real just war in Afghanistan" was nothing but a load of horseshit. At least you are consistent."

    I agree that we should have gone into Afghanistan to go after Bin Laden, but we failed. Why are we still there?

  • ||

    "I agree that we should have gone into Afghanistan to go after Bin Laden, but we failed. Why are we still there?"

    Good question. I think the better question is why are we still there with large numbers of infantry when what we really should be doing is hunting Al Quada with special forces. I agree with you that the prospects of making Afghanistan into a peaceful stable country are like zero. Why are we there with 10s of thousands of troops is a good question. Why not let the Afghanistanis fight it out amongs themselves and then use SF to go after people who are a threat to us? Even I can't really see the point of leaving 50,000 infantry soldiers in AFghanistan at this point.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    bookworm,

    If anything, it makes us less secure by sparking the flames of terrorism against us.

    The number one thing that sparks the flames of terrorism against us is successful terrorist attacks against us.

    Kicking terrorist ass happens to have the opposite effect.

    Coddling, apologizing and sympathizing with the terrorists just helps them achieve their objectives.

  • ||

    Sure, bring all of our forces home. There's absolutely no threats brewing in that part of the world.

  • ||

    "I think the better question is why are we still there with large numbers of infantry when what we really should be doing is hunting Al Quada with special forces."

    I agree with you 100% on that, John.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Do the majority of Americans want us to stay in Iraq and AfPac indefinitely at the expense of more American blood spilt and American treasure lost?

    It appears that the majority does not want to leave in defeat and the president finally realizes this.

  • ||

    "Sure, bring all of our forces home. There's absolutely no threats brewing in that part of the world."

    And how is that our business? Where does the Constitution state that we should be the policeman of the world?

  • Harris Trinsky||

    doesn't that make them chickenhawks who just want to send other people's kids off to die in Obama's wars?

    Plus, crude oil prices are up around 40% since Obama's inauguration. I am so sick of this oil-soaked administration, just a tool of its blood-profiting cronies in Big Oil.

  • ||

    "It appears that the majority does not want to leave in defeat and the president finally realizes this."

    But for how long will Americans tolerate these wars? How many more young men and women will have to die before we say enough is enough? How much longer will we continue to overstretch our weakened economy? I thought we had learned our lesson against never ending wars after Viet Nam. But apparently not.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    bookworm,

    Do you always ask more silly questions when you are not getting the answer you want to hear?

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    "Sure, bring all of our forces home. There's absolutely no threats brewing in that part of the world."

    There are threats brewing in every part of the world.

  • ||

    Cab, I'm most worried about loose nukes in the hands of religious zealots.

  • ||

    "Sure, bring all of our forces home. There's absolutely no threats brewing in that part of the world."

    In some ways that makes you want to bring them home. The Army is only so big. What happens is the original Dear Leader finally goes apeshit in Korea?

  • ||

    "The number one thing that sparks the flames of terrorism against us is successful terrorist attacks against us."

    Proof?

    Are you really arguing that 9-11 happened because of previous attacks not because of the specific grievances expressed by bin Laden? To argue the first is to assert that terrorists are some sort of sub-human species of automatons. To argue the second is that they are something much more dangerous - fully human but fanatical. Fanatics are very dangerous people.

    "Kicking terrorist ass happens to have the opposite effect."

    Continual kicking of ass has not seemed to work for my former co-religionists. It remains to be seen what ass kicking has accomplished in Iraq or what it has done to suppress terror attacks more generally.

    Not that fighting back isn't the normal thing to do - even Belgium fights back when attacked - but "kicking ass" by itself doesn't work as well as you think it does.

    Fanatics do not engage in what we think of as normal cost benefit analysis which is another reason why they are so dangerous.

  • ||

    Fanatics do not engage in what we think of as normal cost benefit analysis which is another reason why they are so dangerous.

    Raising, again, the question of what to do with fanatics that have a history of attacking you. Sitting back rarely makes them go away, after all.

  • Eric Hanneken||

    What is Nick Gillespie quoting from?

  • ||

    "Raising, again, the question of what to do with fanatics that have a history of attacking you. Sitting back rarely makes them go away, after all."

    Would they have attacked us if it were'nt for our meddling foreign policy?

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Would they have attacked us if it were'nt for our meddling foreign policy?

    I had a feeling that part of the script was just around the corner.

  • ||

    "Do you always ask more silly questions when you are not getting the answer you want to hear?"

    No, I'm only trying to get you to think, John T.

  • Eric Hanneken||

    I found Associated Press story that Nick Gillespie was quoting from, in case anyone else was interested.

  • ||

    "Would they have attacked us if it were'nt for our meddling foreign policy?"

    "I had a feeling that part of the script was just around the corner."

    I suppose you think they attack us because they're jealous of us, John T.

  • robc||

    I want to find any anti-war voters for Obama and punch them in the neck.

    A REAL anti-war candidate was available in the primaries, you douche-bags.

  • ||

    "No, I'm only trying to get you to think, John T."

    Bookworm, I see that you set some mighty high goals for yourself.

  • ||

    Does anybody know what we actually are trying to achieve in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    We have deposed the governments in power in 2001. Are we going to make them into the 51st and 52nd states?

  • Xeones||

    I want to find any anti-war voters for Obama and punch them in the neck.

    I know a bunch. I'd send you their addresses, but i got dibs on the neck-punching.

  • Fascitis Necrotizante||

    Are we going to make them into the 51st and 52nd states?

    To make Louisiana and Mississippi look better in the rankings.

  • ||

    Has the Presidential Suit articulated anything remotely resembling a plan with specific goals and determinable markers of progress?

  • ||

    If he can't do that for General Motors, I shouldn't expect him to do it for Afghanistan.

    Silly me.

  • Swami Jake||

    I'm sure that whatever the reasons "the terrorists" have for attacking U.S. targets may be, they are fast disappearing as we kill dozens more Afghan civilians every week. Our de facto permanent bases in Iraq and Afghanistan will make them like us even more, in much the same way we would like it if our major cities were ringed with foreign bases and our hinterlands pocketed with foreign air forces.

    Pretty soon they'll be jihad-ing against the lack of porn and bacon on the streets of Riyadh, and within five years the AL MVP will be a Syrian shortstop.

    Anyone who thinks we need to kick their asses harder needs to think about how he would react if the roles were reversed. Get some perspective.

  • ||

    Remember those campaign promises to bring a swift and honorable peace in the two wars that President Obama inherited? Forget about it.



    I forgot about it (wrote it off as blatant bullshit) minuteas after I read about it. Obama fans - Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Over.

  • ||

    Anyone who thinks we need to kick their asses harder needs to think about how he would react if the roles were reversed. Get some perspective.

    Not so much because most parts of the Middle East have been so war-torn and backward, but partially because of that, your suggestion is actually harder than it sounds.

  • ||

    I've been saying bring the troops home from Iraq since before I ever started commenting here. My position on Trashcanistan has evolved into leave with a promise that we'll be back if they fuck up. I don't give a crap about the pipe dream of representative democracy with respect for human rights over there because I know that AIN'T. GONNA. HAPPEN.

    Make no mistake, we can blow up every fucking bridge in the goddam hellhole and turn of electrical distribution without breaking a sweat any time we want. Whatever tyrannical rulers get put into place will know that.

  • kinnath||

    I can accept keeping military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan so long as Obama relocates all the UAW jobs at Chrysler and GM to these two new US territories (keeping American jobs for Americans).

  • robc||

    My position on Trashcanistan has evolved into leave with a promise that we'll be back if they fuck up.

    I opposed the initial invasion of Iraq, but after we did and found Saddam, that was my position on it too. Leave with a promise to do to the new leader what we did to Saddam if he doesnt behave.

  • ||

    "I suppose you think they attack us because they're jealous of us, John T."

    I think they attack us because they are assholes.

  • ||

    Then of course there is a good portion of Obama voters who post on here and at least claim to be libertarians.

    So who are these people, John? Name some names.

  • Zeb||

    "The number one thing that sparks the flames of terrorism against us is successful terrorist attacks against us.

    Kicking terrorist ass happens to have the opposite effect.

    Coddling, apologizing and sympathizing with the terrorists just helps them achieve their objectives."

    And how the fuck can you know this? Are you a terrorist? Do you have some magical view into an alternate reality where we didn't "kick terrorist ass"?

    And this is not Vietnam. If we were to withdraw it would not be withdrawing in defeat. As someone has pointed out above, there is no real clear objective or standard of "victory" in either conflict. We will never win. Worst case is we leave without getting the job done. But we have to define what the job is before we can do that.

  • Zeb||

    "I think they attack us because they are assholes."

    Being assholes is probably a necessary condition for attacking us, but is not sufficient. I know many assholes who have never perpetrated a terrorist attack.

  • Osama bin Laden||

    We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal whether directly or through its support of the Israeli occupation of the Prophet's Night Travel Land (Palestine). In addition, Allah is displeased that Americans can go to Baskin & Robbins and choose from 23 flavors. Prophet Mohammed issued a decree that no true believer should have more than 10 flavors of ice cream. Also, too, evil Americans and their imperialistic government have the freedom to buy Juggs, Playboy, Big Black Butt and Barely Legal. God willing, our fatwa will end this evil freedom. When we have a turban in the White House, the infidels will learn to love Naughty Niqab.

  • robc||

    I know many assholes who have never perpetrated a terrorist attack.

    Most of them post here.

  • PR||

    My boss sent us an email this morning requesting that we start wearing red shirts every friday


    sounds like you are expendable

  • ||

    Most of them post here.

    Burn!

  • ||

    My boss sent us an email this morning requesting that we start wearing red shirts every Friday

    So, your boss supports the troops when they are fighting Obama's wars, but not when they are fighting Bush's wars? What else am I to make of the timing?

  • ||

    @ John -
    You wrote, "Afghanistan did provide aid and support to people who attacked us."
    ---> This is almost certainly false. Please see:

    http://media.www.dailylobo.com/media/storage/paper344/news/2009/04/30/Culture/911-A.Government.Story.Full.Of.Holes-3732806.shtml
    "9/11: A government story full of holes"
    Hunter Riley
    Issue date: 4/30/09

    www.opednews.com/articles/Was-America-Attacked-by-Mu-by-David-Ray-Griffin-080909-536.html
    "Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11?"
    by David Ray Griffin
    (Dr. Griffin, author of "The New Pearl Harbor", and other 9/11 - related books, is a Christian.)

    (http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/fakealqaeda.html?q=fakealqaeda.html)
    "Al Qaeda" appears to be a front group for CIA and Mossad.

    Sam Bolivar
    StrivingForJustice@yahoo.com

  • ||

    @ John again:

    You wrote, "Do liberals now support these wars? If so, do they plan to join up? If not doesn't that make them chickenhawks who just want to send other people's kids off to die in Obama's wars? God this stuff is fun sometimes."
    ---> To answer your (rather tripe) questions - We true liberals do NOT support these - or any other - immoral, illegal wars. We support our troops by trying to help them stay the f**k out of war zones, and by refusing to pay at least some of our US federal income taxes, so as to deprive the DoD (Dept. of Death) of funding. I hope you would agree that that's best for America and the world at large? (If you don't, then you can of course go ahead and volunteer to go to Iraq/Afghanistan - although I'd beware of the radioactive 'depleted' uranium (DU) dust floating around - which would stay in your lungs until you're dead. However, I'd much rather you did NOT die in vain...

    ---------

    I strongly encourage readers to check out the non-fiction comic book entitled "Addicted to War", by Joel Andreas. It's quite worthwhile, and helped me learn more about US history and the military-industrial complex which is ruining our nation. Also, please read the dark, detailed and depressing (but definitely necessary for Americans to know) history book titled "Killing Hope", by William Blum.

    For peace & justice,

    Sam Bolivar
    StrivingForJustice@yahoo.com

  • weenis||

    Great, here come the 9/11 truthers.

    Go sell crazy somewhere else. We're all stocked up here.

  • Syd||

    Obama was talking about withdrawing troops from Iraq, but I seem to remember him talking about increasing our commitment in Afghanistan, In fact one of his big criticisms of Bush was Bush's being distracted by Iraq when we should have been concentrating on the other war.

  • Lease a Car||

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  • han||

    I know my earlier comment

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