Prepare for the Great Blogospheric Pivot on Afghanistan

There have been a pair of news items on Afghanistan. The first is on the rising U. S. casualty count in Afghanistan:

As of Monday, July 14, 2008, at least 473 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department. The department last updated its figures July 5 at 10 a.m. EDT.

Of those, the military reports 332 were killed by hostile action.

The second is Sen. John McCain’s comments about his support for a “surge” in Afghanistan:

WASHINGTON — Senator McCain will announce plans today for an Iraq-style “surge” of troops in Afghanistan.

An adviser to the campaign told The New York Sun that, in a speech to be delivered in Albuquerque, N.M., the senator will call for an increase in combat troops and the creation of a special Afghanistan tsar to coordinate policy toward the country. “There will be a surge for Afghanistan. It will be moving combat troops in and applying the lessons from Iraq and the strategy that was successful in Iraq and taking that to Afghanistan,” this official said.

From what I’ve been reading lately in a number of blogs I expect that we’re about to see a great pivot in the blogosphere on the subject of Afghanistan. The Bush Administration has recently provided a little wiggle room for redeploying troops from Iraq to Afghanistan and I’ve seen a number of posts, viz. this one from Juan Cole and this one from Newshoggers that taken together suggest to me that people who opposed moving troops from Iraq to Afghanistan will be begin to support the idea and people who’ve been complaining for six years that we should be sending more troops to Afghanistan will start supporting withdrawal from Afghanistan.

I’ve always thought that our invasion of Afghanistan was ill-considered and that the most we’re likely to achieve there is denying the territory to Al Qaeda and the Taliban which while necessary probably doesn’t require a lot more troops than we have there now. I wish people were formulating their policy positions based on logistics, strategic considerations, or grand strategic considerations rather than polls, casualty counts, and political triangulation. I don’t think I’ll get my wish.

1 comment… add one
  • Dave — I think if you spend any time in our archives on the Afghanistan tag you will see very little opposition to the idea of shifting more US forces from Iraq to Afghanistan; instead the objection is a simple one of counting — under current patterns, there are not any brigades available for deployment.

    One of the common critiques from the left on Iraq since 2002 has been the opportunity cost argument that a brigade, division or corps in Iraq is one that can not be in Afghanistan. I have bought into that critique since about July of 2002, and I think it is still a very coherent critique.

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