No peace in our time either...
by: Matt Southworth
As the US war in Afghanistan spreads toward Pakistan and the strategy drifts to Counter Terrorism (CT), there is no deescalation in sight. In fact, it is increasingly clear that the White House has little intention to significantly draw down troops in July of this year, as promised in President Obama’s West Point speech.
Approximately 36,000 troops will be deployed to Afghanistan in 2011; 28,900 -80%- of those will deploy before July-the first month of President Obama’s promised transition and draw down phases. The deployments are part of the regular troop rotations, but what might this mean for the July 2011 draw down?
Here is a list of deployments compiled by my fellow anti-war organizer and writer Ryan Harvey:
FORT KNOX, KY – Early Winter 2011 (February)
3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
FORT CAMPBELL, KY – Early 2011 (February)
159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.
FORT HOOD, TX – Late Winter/Early Spring 2011
1st Cavalry Divison’s Air Cavalry Brigade
FORT CARSON, CO – Spring 2011
2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
FORT DRUM – Spring 2011
3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HI – Late March/April 2011
3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
FORT LEWIS, WA – Early Spring/Summer 2011
I Corps Headquarters, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
GERMANY – Spring or Fall 2011
170th and 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Teams.
FORT BRAGG, NC – Fall 2011
82nd Airborne Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.
FORT WAINWRIGHT, AK – Late 2011
1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
OHIO NATIONAL GUARD, OH- May 2011
37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
NEW YORK NATIONAL GUARD, NY – early 2012
27th Brigade Combat Team.
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - January
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.
As long as this list is, it is not exhaustive. For example, several thousand Marines will deploy from Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune throughout 2011. This kind of war planning is not uncommon. The underlying point is that President Obama and General Petraeus know exactly now many troops they plan to bring home in July of this year.
What exactly do these impending deployments mean for the July 2011 draw down date in Afghanistan? Most likely that the draw down-deployment combination will represent a net troop withdrawal of only a few Brigade Combat Teams- approximately 9,000-12,000 troops. Could this mean that U.S. is planning an extended engagement in Afghanistan?