Monday, August 22, 2005

Afghanistan and Iraq

Did you know that over the last six months, it has been approximately as dangerous to be an American soldier in Afghanistan as it has been to be an American soldier in Iraq? It's true. Over the last six months, about 65 soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, compared to about 370 killed in Iraq over that same period. Since there are about 7 times as many soldiers in Iraq as Afghanistan, the level of danger to the troops in those countries has been approximately the same.

The reason this is worth thinking about is that by all accounts, Afghanistan is a great deal farther along in its political process than Iraq. Yet American troops remain in country, and they continue to be exposed to Iraq-like levels of danger.

With that the case, how can the White House get away with pretending that the end is in sight in Iraq? Is Iraq projected to surpass Afghanistan at some point in the next, say, two years? If so, what does that tell us about the Afghanistan situation? Is the country in danger of falling back into the hands of the same elements who controlled the country prior to October 2001?

If not, what does that tell us about Iraq, if not that when it comes to getting our soldiers out, there's no time like the present?

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