While about 9,800 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan to support such a non-combat "train, advise, and assist mission," approximately 24,000 troops will be going home under President Obama's "drawdown plan" before the end of the year.
The president just announced that "it is time to focus on nation-building at home." He is right. This is a strategic investment in our future competitiveness and capacity to lead; it is not isolationist.
On Monday, the United States Conference of Mayors is expected to pass a resolution calling for a speedy end of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars so we can use those funds here at home. The mayors are exactly right.
As President Obama prepares to announce his intentions for how many troops to withdraw from Afghanistan this year, public opinion polls show a significant spike in the number of people who want to see big numbers of troops brought home.
If you were going to draw up a list of five things that President Obama could do that would be likely to draw a primary challenge in 2012, throwing the Afghanistan drawdown in the trash would surely be on that list.
This year alone, American taxpayers will spend $100 billion on our involvement in Afghanistan -- roughly five times more than Afghanistan's GDP. Yet this is a conflict which still has no clear definition of success.