In 2009, President Barack Obama announced his intentions of deploying more troops to Afghanistan. Statistics show that close to 74 percent of U.S. casualties in Afghanistan have occurred since the surge.
In more than 12 years of war in Afghanistan, 2,162 U.S. troops have given their lives trying to oust the Taliban. The Department of Defense says that 1,593 of those 2,162 who've died, or 73.7 percent to be exact, occurred under Mr. Obama.
Mr. Obama announced on Feb. 17, 2009, the need for more troops in Afghanistan, he said:
To meet urgent security needs, I approved a request from Secretary Gates to deploy a Marine Expeditionary Brigade later this spring and an Army Stryker Brigade and the enabling forces necessary to support them later this summer.
This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires.
A report from the Congressional Research Service says before Mr. Obama entered office, there were 32,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. By February 2009, that number was 35,900 by the end of the year, there were 69,000 U.S. troops. By Sept. 2010, there were 98,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
On March 27, 2009, the president announced a second increase in the number of troops being deployed to Afghanistan. He said:
For three years, the resources that our commanders need for training have been denied because of the war in Iraq. Now, this will change. The 17,000 additional troops that the president decided in February to deploy have already increased our training capacity.
Later this spring we will deploy approximately 4,000 more U.S. troops to train the Afghan National Security Forces so that they can increasingly take responsibility for the security of the Afghan people.
Since that announcement 1,575, or 72.8 percent, of U.S. casualties in Afghanistan have occurred. In all Mr. Obama announced three different troops surges upon recommendations of his top military officials. (You can read the rest of the CNSNews report where this information was gathered from by clicking here.)
What exactly are these numbers telling us? Could the higher number of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan be attributed to Mr. Obama not fully backing the war? Mr. Obama appears to lack faith in a war strategy he approved and in the commander he named to lead it, according to The New York Times and The Washington Post.
"Obama doesn't believe in his own strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his. For him, it's all about getting out." This is what former U.S. Secretary of Defense wrote about a March 2011 meeting in the White House.
It's reported that Mr. Obama has been "plagued by doubts and surrounded by civilian aides who sowed distrust with the military." The president has been criticized because he hasn't fully backed the war in Afghanistan according to Mr. Gates.
Mr. Gates has written his memoir called, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War," the following:
All too early in the administration, suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials - including the president and vice president -- became a big problem for me as I tried to manage the relationship between the commander-in-chief and his military leaders.
Could it be a safe and fair assessment then that more of America's fighting men died in Afghanistan because of Mr. Obama's attitude toward the war? You decide; the numbers seem to support that analysis. Despite whether you believe we should be in Afghanistan or not we are there now, so either we should fully commit or withdraw.
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