Wednesday, June 8, 2011

U.S. Troop Strength in Iraq and Afghanistan

President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009.  At that time U.S. troops numbered 142,000 in Iraq and 23,000 in Afghanistan.  At the end of May 2011, U.S. troops totaled 45,000 in Iraq and, at the end of April 2011, stood at 100,000 in Afghanistan.

Obama withdrew 97,000 in Iraq but added 77,000 in Afghanistan for a net reduction of 20,000.  Put another way, four-fifths of those removed from Iraq were sent to Afghanistan.  (It should be noted that phased U.S. withdrawal from Iraq was agreed during the Bush administration.)

President Obama recently stated that he would order a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011.  Barring a change in the U.S.-Iraq accord, all U.S. troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

A deficit reduction agreement with Republicans will be easier to reach if overseas military expenditures decline in keeping with projected draw downs of U.S. forces in both countries.

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