Daniel Ellsberg on the Expansion of the Afghan War
After months of meetings, President Barack Obama is expected to announce a decision to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan. There is some speculation as to how many troops he will add, but according to a senior military official quoted by the Wall Street Journal, a likely number is 30,000-35,000 extra US troops. Ten thousand of those troops could be used to train the Afghan National Army with the idea of transferring military control to them eventually. However, the recent election debacle in Afghanistan has called into serious question the legitimacy of the central government and President Hamid Karzai who has been implicated in serious counts of fraud. Further, Karzai’s brother is a suspected druglord, and according to the New York Times, receiving millions of dollars from the CIA. US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry has reportedly urged Obama not to send any more troops until the central government regains credibility, according to news reports of a leaked cable transmission this morning. Matthew Hoh, a former Marine Corps captain, recently became the first known US official to resign over his opposition to the Afghan war. In stepping down from his Foreign Service position in Zabul province, Hoh publicly expressed his frustrations that the war was viewed by most Afghans as an unwelcome occupation. Hoh’s statements are reminiscent of a man who most famously went public over his opposition to a similar war more than 35 years ago.