Patrick Hennessey, who served as a Captain and Platoon Commander in the Grenadier Guards in Iraq and Afghanistan, argues for an immediate and sizeable increase in troops in Afghanistan and gives a moving account of the frustrations soldiers feel while politicians debate and delay.
I had friends who had no idea what was going on in Iraq and Afghanistan while London boomed and busted and everyone was more excited by who was being voted off Big Brother. It was incredibly frustrating realizing that people weren’t engaged. But it is similarly frustrating now that everyone is an armchair expert.
Steven Metz on the other hand argues that an increase in troops isn’t as clear while acknowledging the understandable frustration of the military
It is certainly true, though, that the U.S. military in Afghanistan needs better ways of reinforcing units under attack. But this could be done with far fewer than 40,000 additional troops. In fact, an increase that large would, as during the initial period of the Iraq “surge,” lead to more American casualties. Again, the lessons of Iraq are inapplicable. In Iraq the casualty spike was temporary as the insurgency crumbled. In Afghanistan it could be open-ended.
Yet even if there are no strategic or operational reasons for a quick change in strategy, the Obama administration does owe its military and the American public a clearer explanation of its decision process.