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Obama Is Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire
America now has more military personnel in Afghanistan than the Red Army had at the peak of the Soviet invasion and occupation of that country. According to a Congressional Research Service report, as of March of this year, the U.S. had 52,000 uniformed personnel and another 68,000 contractors in Afghanistan -- a number that has likely grown given the blank check President Obama has written for what's now being called "Obama's War."
That makes 120,000 American military personnel fighting in Afghanistan, a figure higher than the Soviet peak troop figure of 115,000 during their catastrophic 9-year war. Just this week, General McChrystal, whom Obama appointed to command American forces in Afghanistan, is talking ofsending tens of thousands more American troops. At the height of the Soviet occupation,Western intelligence experts estimated that the Soviets had 115,000 troops in Afghanistan -- but like America, the more troops and the longer the Soviets stayed, the more doomed their military mission became.
Call it "Afghanistan Syndrome": Twenty years ago, Afghanistan was Russia's "Vietnam"; today, Afghanistan is becoming America's "Afghanistan." Obama is walking into this disaster like one of the doomed victims from the Scream series: everyone, including the protagonists, knows that it's going to be a disaster, everyone's seen the script so many times they can recite it from heart. And yet Obama's leading the nation into the trap all over again. And Obama can't even be compared to LBJ, who at least managed to give millions of Americans Medicare. What will Obama's legacy be? The PPIP program? Protecting AIG's bonuses?
The heavy reliance on contractors in Afghanistan signals that a situation that defense planners once considered temporary has become a standard fixture of U.S. military operations.
"For a sustained fight like our current commitments, the U.S. military can't go to war without contractors on the battlefield," said Steven Arnold, a former Army general and retired executive at logistics specialists Ecolog USA and KBR Inc. KBR was formerly owned by Halliburton Co. He added, "For that matter, neither can NATO."
That poses a challenge for military planners who must keep tabs on tens of thousands of people who are crucial to their operations yet are civilians outside the chain of command.
In Congress, there's a particular concern about security contractors who might upset diplomatic and military relationships. "We've had incidents when force has been used, we believe, improperly against citizens by contractors," said Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. "This creates huge problems, obviously, for those who have been injured or killed and their families, but it also creates huge problems for us and our policies in Afghanistan."
Many contractors in Afghanistan are likely to face combat-like conditions, particularly those manning far-flung outposts, and are exposed to possible militant attacks -- blurring the line between soldier and support staff.
Do you think we should ignore the contractors when we figure troop numbers? (not antagonizing, just want your opinion) [/quote]
If they're mercenary contractors than yes.
but not all of the American Troops are 'fighting.'
True. But they are military and can be thrown to the front line ASAP.