No, this isn't a post about the NBA Playoffs. It's about Afghanistan.
Right now, there are roughly 68,000 U.S. troops in that country. Maybe 100,000 total "coalition" forces there. Military leadership is asking for...a number that's higher than that. Is it an additional 20,000? 40,000? No, it's actually 80,000 more, if General McChrystal is to get his way (we think).
Sound like a lot? That would bring the total number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan from around 70,000 to around 150,000. But does anyone recall how many were sent to Iraq for the first Persian Gulf War, back in 1991?
According to Josef Joffe in a piece for Foreign Affairs, "Washington dispatched 600,000 soldiers to fight the first Iraq war -- without reinstating the draft or raising taxes." How can that be? How can we have 68,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, perhaps 130,000 in Iraq (or a combined 200,000 for both countries, 1/3 of the the total we sent to just Iraq 18 years ago), and expect to win? General Norman Schwarzkopf had a philosophy about war: if you're going to fight one, make dang sure you have the odds so overwhelmingly stacked in your favor that the other guy has no choice but to turn and run (or, as it turned out in Iraq, drop their weapons in the sand and run TOWARDS you to surrender as fast as they can, to avoid being killed during the retreat).
Stormin' Norman had a lot to like about him, but this may have been his most likable trait. I can picture him telling the first President Bush something along the lines of "I don't want to go there, but if you're telling me I need to go, then I'm bringing a half million of my heavily-armed buddies with me, just to be on the safe side." And better still, I can picture the President saying in return, "you got it - and while we're at it, why don't we throw in another 100,000 just to make sure?"
Maybe it's me, but I don't see that kind of dialogue taking place now. Should it? I think so. And if not, they need to just pack it up and catch the first Navy boats back to America.