President Obama’s pledge to “begin” withdrawals in July 2011 is rendered virtually meaningless by this weeks’ endorsement of a 2014 timeline for Afghan troops to take over their country’s security. By then another 2,000 Americans could be dead and the cost of the war will reach one-trillion dollars.
The 2014 date, announced at a heavily-secured one-day diplomatic conference in Kabul, “is non-binding and essentially unenforceable,” according to the New York Times. The goal is to, “ease pressure on European countries where political support for the war has plummeted and government officials are facing demands for a more clearly-charted path to withdrawal.” It is equally aimed at lulling peace sentiment in America.
Thus far, official Western casualties in Afghanistan are: 1,191 US dead and 6,673 US wounded. Another 757 coalition forces have been killed.
But consider the cost of waiting until 2014.
At an average rate of 40 US killed/month, the American death toll through the end of 2014 would be an additional 2,120, bringing the overall number of Americans dead in Afghanistan to 3,311 by 2014.
The number of Americans wounded, presently a conservative 300 per month, would grow by an additional 16,000 wounded by 2014, to a total of 23,000 since 2001.
The unfunded cost of the Afghanistan war this year alone will be $200 billion, including the supplemental appropriation of $33 billion. At that rate, Afghanistan will be a one-trillion dollar war in direct costs by the end of 2014, not including veteran’s health care and other indirect costs.