The Obama Administration: From Ending Two Wars to Engagement in Five – with the Risk of a Sixth
War 1: Afghanistan
First is the Afghan war. The coming “Transition” at the end of 2014 will not end the U.S. role in the conflict or allow the United States to claim any form of success. The administration has ceased to provide any meaningful unclassified data on either the progress of the fighting or of Afghan forces. Rather, the administration and U.S. agencies can only be accused of lying by omission. The latest semiannual report on the Afghan war has no meaningful metrics on the trends in the fighting, dropped all detailed metrics on the readiness of Afghan units, and totally understates and ignores the negative trends in media reporting, UN casualty data, and Afghan public opinion data from recent surveys like those from the Asia Foundation. It sharply understates political risk and does not address the major economic problems and risks raised by the World Bank.
The president has already had to admit that his previous plan to cap the U.S. training and assistance mission at 9,800 will not work, that at least 12,000 to 15,000 more troops must be deployed, and U.S. combat airpower may be needed in the future. In practice, he may well have to go much further.