Sunday, October 11, 2009

Forty Thousand Troops? How About Sixty Thousand?

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Washington - Gen. Stanley McChrystal's troop request for Afghanistan includes an option to send at least 60,000 additional American forces to buttress the war effort there – a higher troop request than previously known.

General McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan, included in his classified troop request a "menu" of options, with the high number thought to be about 40,000 reinforcements. But Obama administration officials are confirming privately that the high end is more than 60,000.

The higher number, reported first by The Wall Street Journal on Friday, may be McChrystal's straw man – likely to be knocked down but useful as a negotiation point in getting more troops than he might otherwise. Some experts, though, say the military is not prone to playing a numbers game to try to hedge its bets.

"The military doesn't do that as far as I know," says Karin von Hippel, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington. McChrystal "was doing a very realistic assessment."

Was the 40,000 number released to blur the lines of what's really needed to win in Afghanistan?

Cross posted at Say Anything

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