Troops

Afghanistan's Unspoken Surge

Obama made good on his March promise to send 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan—and then, The Washington Post reports, he kept going. The White House quietly authorized at least 13,000 additional "support troops"—engineers, medical personnel, and intelligence experts, among others—which the Pentagon is deploying with little fanfare. While the deployment of combat troops has Washingtonians from Gen. McChrystal to Nancy Pelosi at each others' throats, the combined build-up of both combat and support troops has pushed the combined quantity of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to levels higher than the peak of George W. Bush's surge. Obama isn't the first to slide support troops under the table; when Bush announced the Iraq surge, he frequently discussed 20,000 combat troops without mentioning the 8,000 troops that accompanied them into war.