This is kind of some back-of-the-envelope troop math, but when I wrote earlier today that Obama’s new 17,000-troop increase to Afghanistan was lower than Gen. David McKiernan’s requests for around 30,000 troops, I should have noted that about 5000 additional soldiers and Marines were tapped last year to go to Afghanistan as well. (I don’t know the added Marine battalion — mea culpa — but the Army sent the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division to the Logar-Wardak area.) That puts the total near 25,000, and with support troops, it’s pretty close to McKiernan’s request. Update: Given the specific units here (and, uh, basic math skills), my understanding is that this is actually closer to 23,000 troops, all told.

Also, Defense Secretary Bob Gates last month expressed reticence over Americanizing a war that he said badly needed an Afghan face. So maybe it’s not surprising that he would support giving McKiernan most but not all of his requested increase. 

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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