General: Brace for Thousands of GI Casualties
McCaffrey predicts Afghan spring offensive will take heavy toll
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2010 3:26 AM CST
A soldier covers an injured comrade as a helicopter lands to evacuate the wounded after their armored vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan's Wardak Province.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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(Newser) – America should prepare for thousands of casualties when the beefed-up US force in Afghanistan begins its spring offensive against the Taliban, warns a retired general and military expert. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, an analyst who has visited the war zone several times, predicts US casualties will rise to as many as 500 killed and wounded per month, matching or exceeding the deadliest months of last year's fighting.

"What I want to do is signal that this thing is going to be up to $10 billion a month and 300 to 500 killed and wounded a month by next summer," McCaffrey tells the Army Times. "That’s what we probably should expect. And that’s light casualties." McCaffrey predicts that building a viable Afghan state able to take care of its own security will take as long as 10 years.