More troops headed to Afghanistan, Congress wary
According to a FoxNews piece yesterday, the “Devils in Baggy Pants” are headed to Afghanistan as part of a troop increase:
The Army has already announced that 1,500 men and women from a key brigade in the vaunted 82nd Airborne Division, whose Luciferian moniker owes to their battle dress and demeanor, will be sent to the war torn nation this summer. It’s an “advise and assist” mission, but if things go south, the 82nd is rough and ready.
“The 'Devils in Baggy Pants' are well-trained, well-equipped, and ready to assist our Afghan partners as part of the Resolute Support mission," said Col. Toby Magsig, commander of the division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team. “Since spearheading allied assaults in Sicily and Anzio in 1943 the Devil Brigade has accomplished its missions through disciplined initiative."
The Trump Administration is currently reviewing a proposal which calls for thousands more U.S. troops to counter a gathering Taliban threat. U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan peaked in 2011 at 100,000 and decreased each year since, down to 8,400 American men and women in 2017. Trump has not yet signed off on a new strategy, but if more aggressive measures are taken in Afghanistan, the 82nd Airborne Division could play a key part in achieving success.
According to a history that was on the 82nd website (since taken down but referenced on Wiki) the name of the BCT comes from an entry in the diary of a Wehrmacht officer killed at Anzio:
American parachutists...devils in baggy pants...are less than 100 meters from my outpost line. I can't sleep at night; they pop up from nowhere and we never know when or how they will strike next. Seems like the black-hearted devils are everywhere…
Leo Shane from Military Times had a piece yesterday about the reception any troop increase might get on Capitol Hill:
Reports of a proposed significant increase in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan brought praise from critics of the drawdown of forces in the region but renewed concerns from Democrats unsure of the president’s strategy for the war…
“I expect to see a strategy to win,” McCain told reporters Tuesday. “And that's going to require more troops, thousands more. It’s going to require more effort, it’s going to require more money.”
But lawmakers who praised Obama for the military drawdowns in both regions said they worry Trump’s move comes without any real strategy or long-term goals, other than undefined promises of “winning” against foreign fighters.
“We’ve seen this movie before: commitment of ground troops, escalating engagement without congressional oversight,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., referencing the tens of thousands of U.S. troops sent to Iraq at the height of that war.
“We need to make sure the president of the United States comes to us and gets the American people to approve when he is conducting a war. Commitment of additional ground troops is an ominous sign of what is to come.”
Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis seemed to strike a middle ground, saying that peace in Afghanistan hinged not on a military victory but a political one for the Afghan Government. "In Afghanistan, we're up against a determined enemy. When the government wins the affection, the respect and the support of their people, then no enemy can stand against them.”