There are tons of news articles that deal with the difficulty of counterinsurgency wars such as the one America is prosecuting in Afghanistan. I keep hearing from both politicians on the TV, and people around me, that we should abandon this war. But what I don't hear from those same people advocating quitting the war is how we should withdraw, how to deal with the fallout from our withdrawl, or what to do if the terrorists reconstitute their safe havens in Afghanistan once the United States leaves.
There's a lot out there being written about how there needs to be an Afghan government that the people can respect and trust. While this is true, I'm not sure that deals with the safety issues that the Afghan people face. How can Afghan people be expected to support their government if their villages are not safe against terrorists?
Obviously the war is straining the resources of the military. Would the overall effect be easier, and our current efforts more effective, if we had a larger Army?
Jim Talent, over at The National Review Online, points out that:
"When America fought Desert Storm, the active-duty Army had 18 divisions, or about 800,000 soldiers. Then, in the early 1990s, that figure was reduced to ten undermanned divisions, with an end strength of fewer than 500,000 men, in order to save money. The thinking then was that for the foreseeable future, the United States would not need to put large numbers of “boots on the ground” for sustained periods. That was two years before the Bosnian conflict and less than ten years before the Iraqi and Afghanistan operations, both of which — everyone now agrees — require, first and foremost, the presence of “boots on the ground” in large numbers for a long time."
I'm not so sure that we would not have spend less money, saved more military personnel lives, and had shorter wars during the past 20 years if we'd simply had a larger Army. Thomas Donnelly and Fredrick W. Kagen wrote an article that first appeared in The Washington Post on May 23, 2008 that discusses the need to grow the size of the Army.
Decisions made today will affect the Army America has ten years from now. Our current administration wants to save money on military, this is one of the areas where they are not in favor of spending increases. My concern is that we are focusing on short-term budget concerns and not thinking strategically.
What about you, do you think we need to budget and plan to expand the size of the US Army?
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