Cost of war in Afghanistan will be major factor in troop-reduction talks
The Washington Post via: Huff Post
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Published: May 30
Of all the statistics that President Obama’s national security team will consider when it debates the size of forthcoming troop reductions in Afghanistan, the most influential number probably will not be how many insurgents have been killed or the amount of territory wrested from the Taliban, according to aides to those who will participate.
It will be the cost of the war.
The U.S. military is on track to spend $113 billion on its operations in Afghanistan this fiscal year, and it is seeking $107 billion for the next. To many of the president’s civilian advisers, that price is too high, given a wide federal budget gap that will require further cuts to domestic programs and increased deficit spending. Growing doubts about the need for such a broad nation-building mission there in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death have only sharpened that view.
“Where we’re at right now is simply not sustainable,” said one senior administration official, who, like several others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal policy deliberations.