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* 200,000 Military Personnel in Afghanistan * Republicans “Bungle” War Powers
WASHINGTON - June 21 - The New York Times reports in a piece titled “Obama to Announce Plans for Afghan Surge Pullout” that: “Even after all 30,000 troops are withdrawn, roughly 68,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan, twice the number as when Mr. Obama assumed office.”
GARETH PORTER, porter.gareth50 at gmail.com
Porter is an investigative journalist and historian specializing in U.S. national security policy. He recently wrote the piece “Petraeus Pads Success Against Taliban.” Porter said today: “The historic pattern of the Bush and Obama administrations is that the military and the Pentagon seek to turn what is supposed to be a temporary ‘surge’ of troops into a permanent presence. That’s what happened in Iraq, and the military is pushing for the same thing in Afghanistan. But now there are countervailing pressures on Obama for the first time.” Porter is author of “Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.”
DAVID SWANSON, david at davidswanson.org
Swanson is author of ”War Is A Lie.” He just wrote: “The United States has about 200,000 military personnel in Afghanistan, half of them troops, half of them contractors.”
CBS News reports today: “Republican House leaders will meet later today to discuss whether to try to constrain the ability of President Obama to continue military operations in Libya. Republicans, frustrated with what they see as a lack of consultation by the president, are considering a variety of legislative measures, from a resolution rebuking the president to an amendment similar to the one introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to cut off funding for the war.”
IVAN ELAND, ind.inst.ieland at gmail.com
Senior fellow at the Independent Institute, Eland just wrote the piece “Republicans Bungle War Powers Pushback,” which states: “The 60/90-day sunset provision only applies when the president commits forces for self-defense during a national emergency … In the assault on Libya, not only did Libya not first attack the United States, it was not even a threat to the U.S. or its vital interests.
“By focusing on the 60/90 sunset provision, however, the Republicans have painted themselves in a corner. Obama has said that this provision does not apply because current operations in Libya don’t rise to the level of ‘hostilities’ — that is, the U.S., after leading the dangerous portion of the mission, the destruction of Libyan air defenses, has now turned the turkey shoot on Libyan ground targets over to the NATO allies and is now merely acting in a support role. (Even this excuse is ridiculous because the U.S. is providing drones to help its allies attack ground targets.)
“It would be much more difficult for Obama to argue that the war, in its most intense initial phase, didn’t rise to the level of ‘hostilities.’ But the Republicans have forfeited the stronger argument that any offensive attack on Libya needed prior congressional authorization and have put all of their marbles on the inapplicable sunset provision.” Eland’s books include “Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty” and “Putting ‘Defense’ Back into U.S. Defense Policy.”