By H.D.S. Greenway
November 3, 2009
PRESIDENT OBAMA is doing the arithmetic of fighting in Afghanistan and figuring the odds of Pakistan pulling through. He must not only add up the numbers of soldiers he wants to hand over to his generals, but must also measure what is achievable against what his country has to spend in money and blood. General Stanley McChrystal?s requests echo those of Marshal Akhromeyev, who begged the Soviet Politburo for more soldiers for his war 20 years ago.
There is also the arithmetic of declining public support, which democracies cannot ignore. Americans are growing weary and want to know how this all adds up. Europeans spend less than a third of what Americans spend on defense, and that number is expected to fall. Polls show that more than 60 percent of the British public wants their troops out of Afghanistan, and in France and Germany the sums of the disenchanted and disaffected creep even higher.
Phi Beta Iota: The Boston Globe remains the best newspaper in the USA. This is a solid piece worthy of a full read.