by Conor Friedersdorf
David Boaz passes along that chart, and remarks upon it:
Now it’s true that when candidate Barack Obama vowed, “I will bring this war to an end in 2009,” he was talking about Iraq. In July 2008 he suggested that he would send two more brigades about 8000 troops to Afghanistan. He has far exceeded that, and we can only wonder whether the voters who responded to his antiwar message anticipated that he would increase the number of troops in Afghanistan by almost as much as he reduced the number in Iraq.
What troubles me aren't troop levels inside Afghanistan so much as the expansion of the war beyond its borders:
Senior American military commanders in Afghanistan are pushing for an expanded campaign of Special Operations ground raids across the border into Pakistan’s tribal areas, a risky strategy reflecting the growing frustration with Pakistan’s efforts to root out militants there. The proposal, described by American officials in Washington and Afghanistan, would escalate military activities inside Pakistan, where the movement of American forces has been largely prohibited because of fears of provoking a backlash.
The plan has not yet been approved, but military and political leaders say a renewed sense of urgency has taken hold, as the deadline approaches for the Obama administration to begin withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan. Even with the risks, military commanders say that using American Special Operations troops could bring an intelligence windfall, if militants were captured, brought back across the border into Afghanistan and interrogated. The Americans are known to have made no more than a handful of forays across the border into Pakistan, in operations that have infuriated Pakistani officials. Now, American military officers appear confident that a shift in policy could allow for more routine incursions.
Desperate for an unlikely triumph in Afghanistan, we're risking the catastrophic destabilization of its nuclear neighbor, and likely adding to the chance that we'll be attacked by Pakistani terrorists. And Congress has nothing to say about this because they've meekly ceded their war powers to the executive branch.