Despite Panetta’s Comment Afghanistan War Budget for 2013 is $90 Billion

Defense Secretary Panetta made headlines this week for commenting that the US may end combat operations in Afghanistan “hopefully by the mid to latter part of 2013.” Is this the sign we have been hoping for?  Maybe not.

Sec. Panetta went on to say “we’ve got to stick to the Lisbon strategy” – meaning the deadline for transitioning to local forces is still December 2014. This summer 22,000 troops, all that remains of the surge, will come home from Afghanistan. It is, however, unclear how many of the remaining 68,000 will be withdrawn in 2013. And the plan for after 2013 is just as obscure.

This year we spent $120 billion on the Afghanistan War. In addition, the administration is requesting almost $90 billion for 2013. Our current fiscal environment demands that these costs be reduced as rapidly as possible.  Inconsistent and misleading statements from the administration on the Afghanistan drawdown timeline will not change this fact.

From ASG
Average American Weekly Income: $1,200. Weekly War Costs: $1,800,000,000
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

Americans now see that the few benefits of the war in Afghanistan are not worth the enormous costs. At a time when many American families are struggling, the amount of money spent on the war in Afghanistan doesn’t make sense.

Panetta Says U.S. to End Afghan Combat Role as Soon as 2013
New York Times by Elisabeth Blumiller
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Wednesday that American forces would step back from a combat role there as early as mid-2013, more than a year before all American troops are scheduled to come home.

The Afghan divide
LA Times by Sarah Chayes
How should we measure success in Afghanistan? It’s a crucial question, but there isn’t much agreement on an answer.

Obama’s Faster, Smarter Afghan Exit
The Daily Beast by Les Gelb
With this strategy, the administration accomplishes three goals: (1) U.S. troops are removed from combat earlier, reducing lives lost and cost; (2) U.S. troops return home earlier; and (3) both security and political risks are made manageable.

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