Both issues reflect demands on increasingly stressed American forces tasked with fighting two wars.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates' comments came during a short visit to Fort Drum in upstate New York -- an Army post that that he said has deployed more soldiers to battle zones over the last 20 years than any other unit. Two Fort Drum brigades are headed to Iraq later this year, and a third is currently in Afghanistan.
Asked about Afghanistan by one soldier, Gates said: "I think there will not be a significant increase in troop levels in Afghanistan beyond the 68,000, at least probably through the end of the year. Maybe some increase, but not a lot."
So far, the Obama administration has approved sending 68,000 troops to Afghanistan by the end of 2009, including 21,000 that were added this spring.
I would first like to ask how Sec'y Gates intends to increase the Army's size. Though I've not spoken with any recruiters lately or researched any numbers, I'm sure that the Army's size will increase as long as volunteers are willing. Maybe they'll send roving recruitment vans to kidnap young men off of the streets. Secondly, I would like everyone to note the fact that "the Obama administration has approved sending 68,000 troops to Afghanistan by the end of 2009, including 21,000 that were added this spring" (FNC). That's 99,000 troops. Ninety-nine thousand men and women. The end to the
War on Terror Overseas Contingency Plan definitely seems to be in sight.