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Pentagon Bets $1.3 Billion On No Real 2011 Afghan Drawdown
Posted by on August 22nd, 2010

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By Steve Hynd

When discussing the gap between rhetoric and reality in politics, it's always worth remembering that "policy is what gets funded". Walter Pincus in the WaPo brings news of the current true direction of policy on Afghanistan.

Three $100 million air base expansions in southern and northern Afghanistan illustrate Pentagon plans to continue building multimillion-dollar facilities in that country to support increased American military operations well into the future.

Despite growing public unhappiness with the Afghan war — and President Obama's pledge that he will begin withdrawing troops in July 2011 — many of the installations being built in Afghanistan have extended time horizons. None of the three projects in southern and northern Afghanistan is expected to be completed until the latter half of 2011. All of them are for use by U.S. forces rather than their Afghan counterparts.

Overall, requests for $1.3 billion in additional fiscal 2011 funds for multiyear construction of military facilities in Afghanistan are now pending before Congress. The House has approved the money, as has the Senate Appropriations Committee. The full Senate has yet to vote on the measure.

In addition, the United States has already allocated some $5.3 billion to construct facilities for the Afghan army and the national police, with most of the "enduring facilities . . . scheduled for construction over the next three to four years," according to a Pentagon release this month.

We're going to have to make Obama make the generals bring the troops home. Six out of ten Americans want out of Afghanistan, but the generals are interested in their careers and their budgets, not what the people want.

Josh Mull points the way:

We are close to cutting off the war funds entirely, tripling our votes in the House of Representatives since just last year. A quick glance at the history of Vietnam will tell you that the last thing the "Host Nation" government wants is for us to cut off funding, but that’s what’s on the table being discussed right now.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. Petraeus can back off, Obama can grow some backbone, and congress can commit to the compromise of the July 2011 withdrawal time table. This wouldn’t be abandoning Afghanistan, as many in congress are still willing to back the Vice President’s "Counter-Terrorism Plus" approach of limited special forces and drone strikes against Al-Qa’eda. Furthermore, we would still have the State Department and other civilian agencies to continue with humanitarian and development missions.

July 2011 is almost a year from now. That should be plenty of time for Petraeus to COIN it up or spread his oil spots or whatever it is he thinks he’s doing. It’s plenty of time for Karzai to get his act together and clean up the corruption in his government. It’s plenty of time for the Pakistani military and intelligence services to back off their covert war against us. July 2011 the US begins to pull out, to be completed ideally by December of the same year.

But that’s only if we see some immediate action from the folks running this war – set the timetable in law, stop the "conditions based" caveats and commit to the ending the war on schedule. If not, we de-fund the entire enterprise.

… I can tell you that among activists, the people who actually do all the work to get candidates elected and force all the strongest parts of legislation, none of them are talking about this July 2011 compromise bulls**t. Most folks are talking about ending the war now, cutting off funding now, and yes, they’re the same ones who’ll urge their organizations to stay home in November if there’s no end to the war in sight.

How will it end? A graceful drawdown in July 2011, or a fierce and immediate stop on the next funding vote? We’ll see what President Obama does now that Petraeus’ propaganda tour has failed.

We'll also see what Senators who want re-elected come November think once the $1.3 billion comes up for a full vote.

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to “Pentagon Bets $1.3 Billion On No Real 2011 Afghan Drawdown”

  1. Tej Kohli says:

    That a Very Great News , that Deals seems very good news for Afgan Citizens

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