The President has committed 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan at an officially estimated cost of $30 billion. Obviously we do have some real money when it comes to things considered “important.” Too bad health care has not made it to the list.
Of course, that $30 billion is far from the full total—it doesn’t include the cost of any new base construction or private contractors required to support the new troops.
Total Afghanistan war spending in 2010 (including existing and new forces) will likely be over $100 billion, more than twice what was spent for the fighting in 2008.
The new troops are being sent as part of a plan to end the war there. What is this new plan?
Thanks to the work of Richard Engel, an NBC news correspondent, we have a little window on what the Joint Chiefs of Staff are thinking. Below is an illustration taken from a non-classified report that discusses the military’s new counterinsurgency (or COIN) strategy. It provides a visual picture of the strategy—including expected challenges and responses.
It is a pretty complicated illustration so please click on it for a larger view. Then, study it carefully—this is what our money is helping to underwrite. Feel better?