President Obama has sent 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan so far, and he’s not sending more anytime soon, writes Bob Woodward, who accompanied national security adviser James Jones as he visited commanders last week, delivering the unwelcome news. They repeatedly told him their troops are spread too thin, but Jones said Obama wouldn’t approve every request, the way President Bush did in Iraq. “We are not going to build that empire again,” he said.
“We don’t need more US forces,” the US commander in Helmand province told Jones in return. “We need more Afghan forces.” So far not one Afghan National Army member has been assigned to help in the volatile province since his unit got there 6 months ago. Jones heard the complaint repeatedly, and promised to press the Afghan government on the subject. He added that military victories might be less important than economic progress. “If that is not done right, there are not enough troops in the world to succeed.”