Afghan War Cost to Be Pivotal in Drawdown Talks

Tuesday, 31 May 2011 04:47 PM

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The cost of the Afghanistan war will be a major factor in upcoming discussions about troop drawdowns. The military will spend about $113 billion on operations in Afghanistan this fiscal year and is seeking $107 billion for the next year, The Washington Post reported.

Afghanistan, troop, drawdowns, budgetPresident Barack Obama’s civilian advisers say the figures are too high, in light of the budget deficit and cuts likely to be made to domestic programs. “Where we’re at right now is simply not sustainable,” a senior administration official told the Post.

The cost of the war will play a larger role than it did during the Afghan surge in 2009 and, with the killing of Osama bin Laden, the balance of power may shift to those in the administration who opposed the surge and favored a faster troop reduction.

“Money is the new 800-pound gorilla. It shifts the debate from ‘Is the strategy working?’ to ‘Can we afford this?’ And when you view it that way, the scope of the mission that we have now is far, far less defensible,” the Post quoted an official as saying.

The spending and scope of the war also are drawing fire from members of Congress and some Republican presidential hopefuls. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said, “It is fundamentally unsustainable to continue spending $10 billion a month on a massive military operation with no end in sight.”


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