When President Obama first took office ten months ago, the number of troops in Afghanistan was 34,000. After just two months in office, he added more troops and brought the total to 71,000. Tuesday night, the President ordered an additional 30,000 troops be sent to Afghanistan as soon as early 2010. "These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan," President Obama told the gathered audience at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
With over 100,000 troops shortly on the ground in Afghanistan, the President admitted his total would be $30 billion the first year alone but said he would work with Congress on funding. He must convince members of his own party the costs of training the Afghans to mount their own security are worth overriding the economic downturn at home. Congressman David Obey (D-WI) of the House Appropriations Committee suggests money needed for a struggling U.S. economy may take the hit for Obama's war efforts. Congressman Obey says if a long-term, multi-year commitment is needed then that "could cost anywhere from $500 billion to $900 billion over the next decade, which could devour our ability to pay for the actions necessary to rebuild our own economy...the biggest threat to our long-term national security is a stunted economy."