President Obama alleges "the tide of war is receding" in Afghanistan, thus allowing him to reduce U.S. forces there by 10,000 this year, but the fact is overall Allied strength has been rising, not falling.
That's because the 10,000 U.S. fighters the president plans to bring home by the end of this year have already been replaced in advance, so to speak, by troop surges of NATO allies and other nations.
What the New York Times June 23 rd called President Obama's "Rapid Troop Cuts" is not only hardly "rapid" but is part of an overall strategy for continuing a pointless, illegal, 10-year-long war whose casualty rates are higher than ever!
There are more than 40 countries that have dispatched troops to Afghanistan and a majority of them have increased their forces since July, 2009, according to a nation-by-nation report in the current Guardian.co.UK.
The UK, for example, from July, 2009, to June, 2011, increased its troops from 9,000 to 9,500, up 500; Spain from 780 to 1,550, up 770; Germany from 4,050 to 4,800, up 750; Italy from 2,800 to 3,900, up 1,100; Canada, from 2,800 to 3,000, up 200; Czech Republic from 340 to 500, up 160; Bulgaria from 470 to 600, up 130; Poland from 2,000 to 2,500, up 500; Romania, from about 1,000 to 2,000, up 1,000; and France, from 3,100 to 3,900, up 800. No wonder Mr. Obama can make a token withdrawal in force now: he has already largely replaced his announced troop cuts for 2011 with foreign fighters.
Some of the other nations that have been convinced by the President's open appeals or behind-the-scenes arm-twisting, (figures according to the reliable UK Guardian,) are:
Albania, 210; Armenia, 40; Austria, 3; Azerbaijan, 94; Belgium, 507; Bosnia and Herzegovina, 55; Bulgaria, 602; Croatia, 320; Denmark, 750; Estonia, 163; Finland, 156; Georgia, 1; Greece, 162; Hungary, 383; Iceland, 4; Ireland, 7; S. Korea, 426; Latvia, 139; Lithuania, 237; and Luxemburg, 11.
Also, Macedonia, 163; Malaysia, 31; Mongolia, 74; Montenegro, 36; Netherlands, 192; New Zealand, 191; Norway, 406; Portugal, 133; Singapore, 21; Slovakia, 308; Slovenia, 80; Sweden, 500; Tonga, 55; Turkey, 1,786; UAE, 35; and Ukraine, 55. (The Dutch pulled out their troops in Dec., 2010).
Additionally, Obama's commanders have the support of 94,000 troops of the Afghan National Army and perhaps 100,000 U.S. contractors, thousands of whom are armed.
And if the tide of war is "receding," as Mr. Obama claims, why are civilian casualties there at an all-time high? Since Obama took office, UK's Guardian reports, total Afghan civilian deaths have soared. In 2008, under President Bush, in his last year in office they were 2,118; in 2009, they rose to 2,412; and last year they rose again to 2,777. Does this sound to you like the war is winding down?
According to Wikipedia,: counting U.S. and International Security Assistance Force(ISAF) deaths, "2010 was the deadliest year for foreign military troops since the U.S. invasion in 2001, continuing the trend that has occurred every year since 2003." Does this sound to you like the war is winding down?
In its report of June 23, the New York Times says, "Most American forces are expect to leave Afghanistan by 2014." At the rate Afghan civilians are dying, if past is prologue, Obama's decision means some 6,000 more civilians are liable to be killed. Since the President said that the United States had largely achieved its goals in Afghanistan, what is the point of prolonging the war another three years? Obama's plan is not a peace plan. It is a war plan. Ditto for his attacks on Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen. President Obama looks more like Mussolini every day. #
(Sherwood Ross is director of the Anti-War News Service. To comment or contribute to his effort, e-mail him at Email address removed).