This morning, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen joined the ranks of military leaders who have admitted that because of the war in Iraq, the U.S. is unable to dedicate the necessary number of troops to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
“So, should we be in a position where more troops are removed from Iraq, the possibility of sending additional troops [to Afghanistan] — where we need them, clearly — certainly it’s a possibility. But it’s really going to be based on the availability of troops. We don’t have troops — particularly in Brigade Combat Team size — sitting on the shelf, ready to go.” [3/28/08]
Gen. James Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps:
“[The Marines] cannot have one foot in Afghanistan and one foot in Iraq.” [Washington Post, 2/2/08]
Lt. Gen. John Sattler (USMC), Director for Strategic Plans & Policy:
“…the priority now for resources is going towards Iraq at this time…there are some things we could do and, as Admiral Mullen said, we may like to do, we would like to do, but we can’t take those on now until the resource balance shifts, sir.” [Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, 2/14/08]
Ã‚Â· It has been 2,382 days since the September 11th attacks — Osama bin Laden remains free.
Ã‚Â· 486 brave U.S. servicemembers have been killed and more than 1,900 have been wounded in Afghanistan since October 2001. [Department of Defense, 3/22/08]
Ã‚Â· Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell testified in February that Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and his government control just one-third of the country — the remaining majority is under the control of either the Taliban or local tribes. [AP, 2/28/08]
Ã‚Â· According to a report released by the United Nations, “insurgent and terrorist violence in Afghanistan increased sharply in 2007, with over 8,000 conflict-related deaths and an average of 566 incidents per month.” [AP, 3/10/08]