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36,000 troops set to deploy in 2011, permanent war on the horizon?

January 20, 2011

As the US war in Afghanistan spreads toward Pakistan and the strategy drifts to Counter Terrorism (CT), there is no deescalation in sight. In fact, it is increasingly clear that the White House has little intention to significantly draw down troops in July of this year, as promised in President Obama’s West Point speech.

Approximately 36,000 troops will be deployed to Afghanistan in 2011; 28,900 -80%- of those will deploy before July-the first month of President Obama’s promised transition and draw down phases. The deployments are part of the regular troop rotations, but what might this mean for the July 2011 draw down?

Here is a list of deployments compiled by my fellow anti-war organizer and writer Ryan Harvey:

FORT KNOX, KY – Early Winter 2011 (February)
3,500 soldiers
3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

FORT CAMPBELL, KY – Early 2011 (February)
2,700 soldiers
159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.

FORT HOOD, TX – Late Winter/Early Spring 2011
3,500 soldiers
1st Cavalry Divison’s Air Cavalry Brigade

FORT CARSON, CO – Spring 2011
3,800 soldiers
2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

FORT DRUM – Spring 2011
3,500 soldiers
3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HI – Late March/April 2011
3,500 soldiers
3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

FORT LEWIS, WA – Early Spring/Summer 2011
800 soldiers
I Corps Headquarters, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

GERMANY – Spring or Fall 2011
3,500 soldiers
170th and 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Teams.

FORT BRAGG, NC – Fall 2011
2,800 soldiers
82nd Airborne Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

3,500 soldiers
1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

3,600 Soldiers
37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

3,500 soldiers
27th Brigade Combat Team.

1,400 Marines
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.

As long as this list is, it is not exhaustive. For example, several thousand Marines will deploy from Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune throughout 2011. This kind of war planning is not uncommon. The underlying point is that President Obama and General Petraeus know exactly now many troops they plan to bring home in July of this year.

What exactly do these impending deployments mean for the July 2011 draw down date in Afghanistan? Most likely that the draw down-deployment combination will represent a net troop withdrawal of only a few Brigade Combat Teams- approximately 9,000-12,000 troops. Could this mean that U.S. is planning an extended engagement in Afghanistan?

Indeed, with the November NATO announcement to end operations in Afghanistan by December 2014, the military seems to be abandoning July 2011. Vice President Joe Biden, an advocate of a more CT centered strategy, has sent mixed messages about both July 2011 and December 2014. Most recently, VP Biden stated that “if the Afghan people want…” the U.S. will “not leav[e] Afghanistan” in 2014.

Just how long will the U.S. stay, Mr. Biden?

If Senator Lindsey Graham has his way, the U.S. might just stay forever. Recently on Meet the Press, Sen. Graham said, “a couple of [permanent] air bases in Afghanistan” could “Change [Pakistan’s] behavior.”  Sen. Graham also believes the presence of a few air bases would help Afghan security forces edge out the Taliban. Al Qaeda, the given reason for the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, did not even receive mention by the Senator.

Could permanent bases really be on the U.S. agenda in Afghanistan?

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 5136) explicitly states:

“None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act may be obligated or expended by the United States Government to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Afghanistan.”

However, this bill passed the House, but did not make it through the Senate. A Continuing Resolution (CR)-a bill which extends current funding -was passed to cover funding through March 4th, 2011. Thankfully, the CR covering the rest of FY 2011 does contain language preventing the establishment of permanent bases in Afghanistan.

Most alarming, yet, is the Pentagon requested much more money for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 than it is currently spending. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), average DoD spending in September 2010 reached $5.7 billion per month, a 63% increase over September 2009. At this pace, FY 2011 should cost U.S. taxpayers around $68 billion. The Pentagon actually requested $119 billion to fund Afghanistan war for FY 2011.

The $119 billion request for Afghanistan was granted by Congress in December. As per current monthly spending, that’s somewhere between $40-50 billion more than the General Petraeus should need. As the CRS report says, the FY 2011 request is most likely “overstated.” One Congressional Staffer told me, Congress has “repeatedly overfunded the war.”

This is unconscionable as state and local governments around the country are taking bitter budget medicine-jeopardizing our safety by laying off our police and our future by laying off our teachers; ending the war in Afghanistan is certainly one quick way to free up capital that can then be reinvested back into our communities.

The Los Angeles Times, commenting on Vice President Biden’s recent visit to Afghanistan, said:

“We worry that the administration’s more ambitious goals — a credible government in Afghanistan, the permanent defeat of the Taliban — may prove elusive even after three more years of military involvement, let alone a presence beyond that. We hope that isn’t the case, but regardless of what happens, the United States and NATO should take their own deadlines seriously. That means a significant withdrawal this year and an unambiguous completion of the mission in 2014.”

The American people cannot afford permanent war in Afghanistan- not morally, or financially. Extending the war until 2014 will not deliver the Obama administration’s stated objectives and will cost the American taxpayer nearly half a trillion dollars more. Help FCNL make sure the 112th Congress knows that permanent bases and unending deployments to Afghanistan are unacceptable.

UPDATE: the numbers in this article were updated on January 24th to reflect the additional 1,400 Marines deploying  in early 2011.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2011 5:48 pm

    I do not understand why there has to be war at all! Sending human beings to fight against each other . Does the fact of killing one another bring a sense of satisfaction? If you answer yes to that question than there is no compassion in this world. Why can’t we live in peace! What happened to the “all men are created equal?” All life is essential and important and we should come together and live in peace and love with one another, no matter who we are.

    • Allen permalink
      May 9, 2011 10:47 pm

      hahaha keep dreamnin lady. Only the dead have seen the end of war.

    • Lori permalink
      May 18, 2011 7:55 pm

      “all men are created equal” is an American ideal. This does not apply to the other 99% of the world. What I find is that we Americans live a very sheltered and pampered life. Visit outside our borders and you will very quickly learn that none of us were created equal, but rather “born lucky”.

    • Spencer permalink
      November 20, 2011 6:33 am

      I have been serving proudly in the U.S. Army for more than 14 years, and your thoughts of war would be fine if other countries believed the same way. But the fact is that I have the right to protect myself and my family, whether it be in my house or my country. It is still my home. Just be proud that someone fought for your right to be a hippie, if you were in some of the places that I have been, you would not have the RIGHT to believe in what you say. So I will keep fighting for YOUR “Freedom of Speach” and you just keep selling your flowers outside your VW bus, and singing Kumbaya by the fire, outside of your mud hut smoking weed.


    • bd-og permalink
      May 3, 2012 6:24 pm

      Because there was a man named Osama Bin Laden, and many like him…without the troops that are over there now, he wouldnt be dead, and the same with hundreds of other terrorists.

  2. Eugene E. Ratay permalink
    January 23, 2011 5:51 pm

    The military industrial complex is out of control. The insanity of our corporate govt. is destroying this country.
    We are not a democracy anymore, WE ARE A PLUTOCRACY.
    The american people are brain dead to let this happen.

  3. Belinda St. Leger permalink
    January 23, 2011 7:27 pm

    In light of the anniversary of President Eisenhower’s speech warning about the rise of the military/industrial complex, this article is chilling in the fact that all “Ike” warned about is coming true. God help us! Where are our priorities? We seem to favor killing over working just as hard to find ways to peace. We seem to favor shorting our own citizens in not funding education, public safety, the crumbling infrastructure, etc., because we have to continue these baseless and immoral wars.

    • Redmond permalink
      August 29, 2011 9:42 am

      you guys sound like freaking retards. so let me get this straight you want us to pull out of the war…do you morons not remember 9/11!!!! innocent people were killed because of what these monsters did! you shouldn’t even say anything until you’ve been to war and seen the chaos these people do. oh and another thing eisenhower’s speech was right the rise of the military, but would you rather have more than enough military or none at all? I dont know about yall but if some one were to attack U.S.A i would rather us have a military. Because these dumb freaking people we have in office now are just making everything alot worse!!!!!
      oh and the military gets the deployment orders from the freaking President!!!!!!!!! MORONS!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • October 27, 2011 8:56 am

        go to netflix and watch a movie called 9/11 Loose Change I warn u if u are naive dont watch it. That movie will show u how corrupt our gov is and yes just like u ive been overseas so i can relate but i felt betrayed after i watched so u will feel the same

  4. Megan Lewis permalink
    January 24, 2011 6:20 pm

    I’m sorry to comment here but the ‘contact us’ section of the website isn’t working.
    Does FCNL accept international interns?

  5. January 28, 2011 1:47 pm

    Involvement in the Afghanistan War is a worthless and useless cause. It costs millions of dollars and thousands of soldiers’ and innocent people’s lives. When will Obama, Biden and Petraeus stop this idiosyncrasy? How long will they sacrifice America for the sake of this land?

  6. gypsysnipe permalink
    January 28, 2011 7:04 pm

    We can try and kill as many leaders, their misguided hadji’s, as possible and it won’t work. This is a tribal society, and now Arabs, Chechens, etc have married into Pashtun clans, so they are not going to negotiate. This will turn into a counter-terror mission once they wake up and realize the indig. don’t have any concept of a central gov. Its the year 1100 AD there. Wat a mess.

  7. Vic Anderson permalink
    January 28, 2011 9:33 pm

    Permanent, Escalating and WIDENING WAR of The WORLD!

  8. united races permalink
    July 17, 2011 11:39 am

    The United Races Racial Democratic Movement and The Holy Book of Racial Government. United Races uses Democracy to equalise and stabalise Racism. United Races uses Racism to qualify and quantify Democracy.


    This is the most powerful religio-political movement for more than 3500 years, possibly.


  9. Bertiusota permalink
    July 22, 2011 7:55 pm

    They send all those troops overseas..yet do practically NOTHING to defend OUR borders. Even their own heavily-doctored reports expose the dire situation of the US/Mexican border. Instead of fighting invisible enemies they should be fighting real threats on their OWN DAMN SOIL. The sheer scale of illegal immigration, crime running, people smuggling, drug trafficking and explosive birth rates is so big it can be seen from outer space. Our last remaining areas of wilderness are being torn apart to feed THEIR GROWTH. I’m sick of the media trying to put a lid on this, sick of that damn OBAMA administration, sick of the corporations and offshore interests calling the shots. Learn from Europe – once your population growths to that extent and with that agenda, you don’t have a country worth fighting for and you cannot…cannot..reverse the damage. This situation would never have been allowed to get this far if you’d have let people with common sense run the borders. Instead the whole nation is now sinking in debt and forever paying the welfare bill for people that have no damn right whatsoever to be here. Shove your reconquesta movement, your MS13 gangs and your doubling populations every few years, where that sun doesn’t shine. Even the environmentalists have been silenced for fear of being branded nationalist or racist, this is an insane situation. Bring the troops back here – stop the bloodshed on our own soil that is worse than over there and plug the damn border. THEN we will help other people.

    • Bertiusota permalink
      July 22, 2011 8:02 pm

      Now you imagine taking SOMEONE ELSE’S population to 400,000,000 in 50 would be considered an act of racial war. But no..Uncle Sam must bend over and take it. Forget it. The corporations are the one’s sending our boys back home in boxes, and they’re also the one’s driving she racist surge from the South. They can do this because they buy debt and then we are indebted not to the Constitution but to them. They own the police, the media and politicians. They run the show. Obama just dangles on a string and writes cheques for them he knows his administration cannot cash..and the CONservatives leadership is no different. They are all in this together and the quicker we realize this, the quicker we can stop wars overseas. They’re ran this sham for years, from one war to another, the latest being the information war. All these troops are being sent overseas not for you, me and not for America. They are being sent their to justify the positions of those who would otherwise be out on their ass. We need to clean our own back yard before we tell other people how to sweep.

    • Redmond permalink
      August 29, 2011 9:49 am

      you talk alot of shit!…..have you done anything about it????? have you went down to the border and signed up for border patrol. cause all i see is shit talking…when you do this let me know so i can apologize.

  10. Tash permalink
    October 19, 2011 12:49 am

    Were Australian troops deployed in the past 24 hrs from Adelaide? Are they scheduled to return in early November.

    Thanks…. Confused by the media

  11. Anthony permalink
    November 16, 2011 2:19 pm

    If you really want everyone to come home, info like this should not be broadcasted over the net. The enemy ponders among us more than you think. Just something to think about.

  12. Ryan permalink
    December 5, 2011 10:00 pm

    There we go, thats what I like to see. Save some for me. Hooah!

  13. Mary Lincoln permalink
    March 10, 2012 10:10 pm

    Why would any responsible person print information like troop movement and deployment information??…this is disregard for security and troop safety…think of soldier safety FIRST and then work back up the chain to the decision makers.. give them your opinions and ideas, complaints…but don’t involve troop level…who do you think might be endangered by writing anything considered OPSEC?? Think about it…what is the reason for any thing like this?? nothing is solved by endangering our troops like this..nothing is worth it…if 1 single troop was killed because of this what do you think your responsibility would be?…I think it is beyond enormous…shame on you

  14. July 23, 2013 6:58 pm

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    I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future.
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