Obama to Announce 33,000-Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan

From Politico:

President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Wednesday his plan to withdraw by the end of 2012 the 33,000 additional surge troops sent to Afghanistan, with at least 5,000 personnel – a brigade – to exit by the close of this year, administration officials told POLITICO.

Obama has yet to determine the precise pace of the drawdown that he will outline during an 8 p.m. ET address to the nation from the White House, people familiar with the situation said.

Following the withdrawal of the brigade in 2011, the president also is considering removing an additional 5,000 troops from Afghanistan by next spring, the sources said.

Whatever the pace, all 33,000 forces that were part of the surge would be gone by the end of 2012, sources told POLITICO.

Afghan troop “Surge” predictions


UPDATED figures from http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

When the President announces how many additional US soldiers and Marines will go to Afghanistan to implement the new/ expanded/ revised strategy,

be it Counter-insurgency, Counter-terrorism, or something else,

an announcement I anticipate will be made in the week before Thanksgiving,

how many do you think he will send ? How many do you think he should send ?

Will he also announce a surge of civil service workers to expand development programs ?  

Will he also announce how many additional contractors it will take to support the higher troop levels ?  


As of 22 October, there are about 68,000 US troops there now, plus another 36,230 from NATO and other allies.  


US troops are divided between ISAF (31,000) and Operation Enduring Freedom (36,000.)  

Approximately 103,000 uniformed military.


By my estimate, and the data is sketchy, I think that the following Departments have around the following numbers of direct hire civilian employees:

Defense (mostly Corps of Engineers) – 300

CIA (a total guess) – 150

State (including the Embassy) – 80

USAID (technically part of State, but treated separately) – 45

Agriculture –  15

Treasury –    10

Interior –        5

Commerce –  5

Health & Human Services – 5

All other federal agencies – 10

About 600 Civil Service workers, most at pretty high pay grades.


As of 1 October, there are about 105,000 Contractor employees in Afghanistan.  

Adding employees of subcontractors probably pushes that to around 130,000.

The US Government reports only about 10,000 of these are armed and performing security duties, but in the last year new contracts have been awarded that would permit hiring up to another 60,000 or so armed security contractors.

Not included are about 45,000 Contractor employees in Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.  The only ones to get reported on lately are Xe employees in Islamabad, some of whom were stopped by a Pakistani policeman and instead kidnapped him last week.  

So the total force in-country is around 230,000.  

What do you think is the right range for troops, government civilian workers and contractors ?

vote for more than 1, if you like.  


How many people should we have in Afghanistan ?

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“By investing just 10 more Friedman Units, …”


Who has the President’s ear ?

In today’s NY Times, warmonger Max Boot boasts that General Petraeus spent funds appropriated to fight the war in Afghanistan to bring Max there for a 10-day, all expenses paid tour of the front.  


Even if all the opportunity costs could be monetized, the total cost of this PR boondoggle was probably less than $50K.  

What did the politician in charge of that war, GEN Petraeus, get for that investment ?  A tribute to that same politician’s military genius:

“… Afghanistan’s corruption problem, like its security problem, can be best addressed by additional troops.”  

Recall that the “McChrystal Analysis” and the “McChrystal Troop Request” were actually drawn up by a team of advisors that was selected by Petraeus.  


Is Judith Miller back at the Times ?  I know that Michael Gordon is still on their payroll.  

Everyone up and down the chain of command has publicly acknowledged that we cannot achieve success in Afghanistan, however we might define it, through military force.  

But the debate on the way forward is apparently limited to one military strategy or another.

Colorado tie-in ?

When Max Boot or Richard Perle writes a check for four more wars, the check is cashed paid in the blood of Fort Carson soldiers.