Misleading media reports today are announcing the end of the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan.
And the Washington Post:
There are many more along the same lines.
It’s important to understand that the troop reductions are only part of the total troop surge that happened under Obama.
As FAIR noted last year (Media Advisory, 6/23/11) there were two major increases in the number of U.S. troops in 2009:
When Obama took office in 2009, the U.S. had about 34,000 troops in Afghanistan. Obama has initiated two major troop increases in Afghanistan: about 20,000 additional troops were announced in February 2009, followed by the December 2009 announcement that an another 33,000 would be deployed as well; other smaller increases have brought the total to 100,000.
The surge that is “ending” today refers to the 33,000 that were sent in December. But the troops that were sent in the earlier Obama surge are still there. As the USA Today article notes, there are still 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, roughly double the number that were in the country when Obama took office.
These headlines might give the impression that the Afghan War is winding down. Based on the troop levels alone, that would be highly misleading.