08-18-2010, 12:50 PM
Direct Action Resistance Fighter
Joined: Aug 2006
President sees same number of U.S. troops 575 die in Afghanistan as during Bush year
Quote:Afghanistan was dubbed ‘Obama’s War’ last night after it was revealed that as many American soldiers have died in the conflict during his presidency as during George Bush’s entire time in office.
According to the latest death tally, 575 U.S. troops have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the 20 months since Barack Obama took office in January last year.
That is the same number of fatalities the U.S. military suffered under Mr Bush, who launched the Afghan invasion nine years ago in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
With his White House honeymoon well and truly over, Mr Obama is no longer able to blame his country’s travails on the previous administration.
The latest grim milestone is likely to put him back on the defensive over the Afghan war at a time when he is trying to put a positive spin on his strategy to raise the stakes in an effort to beat back the Taliban.
The revelation comes a day after the deaths of soldiers from Britain, the U.S. and Australia pushed the total number of foreign casualties in Afghanistan past 2,000.
The latest figures show that a total of 331 British military personnel have died in the conflict.
The comparison of the human toll during the two presidencies is based on statistics from icasualties.org, which tracks U.S. soldiers’ deaths using Pentagon reports.
It was highlighted yesterday by Robert Naiman, a columnist for the Huffington Post news website and policy director for the Just Foreign Policy Washington think-tank.
‘When the next U.S. soldier is reported dead, the majority of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan will have occurred under President Obama,’ he said.
‘The majority of Americans – including the overwhelming majority of Democrats, and at least 60 per cent of House Democrats – are deeply sceptical of the administration’s
Afghanistan policy not because they are knee-jerk pacifists – obviously they are not – but because the human and financial cost of the war is rising, we have nothing to show for the increased cost, and the administration has not articulated a clear plan to reach the endgame.’
As key mid-term November elections loom, Mr Obama’s popularity has plummeted.
One of the biggest criticisms is the failure to achieve a breakthrough in Afghanistan.
The President has promised a strategy review in December. But British and U.S. commanders have already warned that the battle will only get tougher as they push ahead with plans to take control of Taliban strongholds.
June was the bloodiest month of the entire war with 102 foreign troops killed, largely as a result of operations in southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Another 88 soldiers were killed in July.
But in the last few days, the U.S. defence secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in the region, said the strategy for Afghanistan was on course.
Mr Gates added that the U.S. will definitely begin reducing the number of its troops in Afghanistan on schedule next July.
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