On NBC Nightly News last night, anchor Brian Williams reported that on a recent trip to Afghansistan, “several U.S. commanders complained” to NBC that they lack “resources, aircraft, soldiers and support because of the war in Iraq.” Williams noted that the commanders’ complaints were echoed earlier in the day by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, who said that the military’s resources are “constrained” because of Iraq. Watch it:
As Williams noted, Mullen told reporters yesterday that in Afghanistan, “violence is up this year by every single measure.” Mullen then said that “we don’t have enough forces” to deal with the challenges there because of troop commitments in Iraq:
“In the last six or seven months, we have a put a tremendous amount of focus on Afghanistan, and I think rightfully so,” he said. “It is an economy-of-force campaign, and by definition, that means we don’t have enough forces there.
“I am constrained on forces I can generate quite frankly because of Iraq,” Mullen stated. “Afghanistan is a significant challenge and is going to take a significant period of time.”
In April, Mullen also told the Senate Armed Forces Committee that “with the bulk of our ground forces deployed to Iraq…we cannot now meet extra force requirements in places like Afghanistan.” Violence has increased to such an extent in Afghanistan that May 2008 was the first time that “American and allied combat deaths in Afghanistan in May passed the monthly toll in Iraq.”
WILLIAMS: Now to the war in Afghanistan. Two Friday nights ago, we were there at Bagram airfield. Because that was the night we reported Tim Russert’s death, our trip ended, we came home without showing you some of what we had reported there. Tonight, we have a look at life there and the war effort now in its seventh year. Several U.S. commanders complained to us about the lack of resources, aircraft, soldiers and support because of the war in Iraq. In fact, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said today, the Iraq War is constraining the military effort. He said violence is up in almost every single measure in Afghanistan, where they have learned to make due with what they’ve got.