Iraq is over with now, basically; what with the elections that took place today, in a seemingly peaceful and successful manner, little remains for the US involvement there but a withdrawal of forces. But some of those forces, rather than heading home, will instead be diverted to Afghanistan, about which the Obama administration has made clear its intentions to devote on the order of an additional 30,000 American troops – both for the reinforcing effect they are expected to have there per se and as a gesture of increased commitment that can be used to cajole the NATO allies to increase their own contributions of men and matériel to that front.
But things may not necessarily follow that simple script. There is certainly resistance in Germany, for example, to the idea of sending any more of its soldiers to Afghanistan, or even to allow a redeployment of the ones that are already there to areas of the country where they could be more useful in suppressing the Taliban (and so where, by definition, they would be more exposed to actually taking casualties). As for the Danes, they do already have around 550 troops operating in the more-dangerous south part of the country and have suffered 22 killed-in-action since the Danish military’s initial deployment to Afghanistan in 2002. And now we encounter on the pages of Denmark’s leading commentary newspaper, Information, probably the Obama administration’s worst nightmare in this regard: an opinion-piece from a leading Danish writer asking “Why are we in Afghanistan?” (more…)