Boot on Gates and State

Correcting the Course - Max Boot, Commentary's Contentions

It's taken a while but the Bush administration is slowly and belatedly starting to correct some of the deficiencies which have cost us so much in the post-9/11 wars. The best known and most successful course correction was the surge in Iraq. Now in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates is finally proposing to increase the size of the Afghan National Army from fewer than 70,000 today to a projected level of 120,000 in five years. That is a badly needed expansion given that the Afghan army has to police a country larger than Iraq with a force of less than one-third the size of the Iraqi army...

Receiving less notice (in fact no notice at all), but potentially of great long-term significance, was the overdue decision by Congress in July to give $75 million, as part of the supplemental appropriation for Afghanistan and Iraq, to the State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Stabilization and Reconstruction. This office was created a few years ago to provide the civilian component in places like Afghanistan and Iraq so the armed forces won't have to do all the heavy lifting. But it couldn't do much because Congress wouldn't fund it...

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