Speech, Afghan Reality Don't Quite Match
Allies may not help; Afghan troops ineffective even if trained
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2009 8:16 PM CST
President Barack Obama speaks about the war in Afghanistan at the US Military Academy at West Point, NY, tonight.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – President Obama’s speech tonight “raised expectations that may be hard to meet,” AP analysts Calvin Woodward and Robert Burns write, citing conditions in Afghanistan that don’t match Obama’s rhetoric:

  • US allies will add troops: In fact, this has always been a tough sell, and even if they commit—and many European countries see Afghanistan as more of humanitarian case—it could be a long time before reinforcements actually appear. Indeed, France and Germany said earlier today they wouldn't immediately send any troops.

  • The additional troops will boost the training of Afghan forces: Even when trained, “too many get into the fight but don’t remain or don’t perform.” Still, Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s approach of pairing whole US units with newly commissioned Afghan forces could help; it has in Iraq.