Part of the Obama Vs Clinton/From the Left discussion...
One of the things I said I'd consider Obama to be a success at was if he had fewer troops in the Middle East - a third was what I was looking for - two years into his administration.
He's certainly taken them out of Iraq, but a heck of a lot of them have been heading straight to Afghanistan. According to this one Canadian "Defence Watch" website, as of late May 2010 there were 94,000 in Afghanistan and 92,000 in Iraq, for a grand total of 186,000 deployed in the theater. (Actually I don't know if the theater is the same, officially, in the military sense. But that's what I meant by Middle East.)
The wonderful report from the Congressional Research Service in 2009 "Troop Levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2001-2012" says it clearly; the peak of Bush era deployment was 187,600. Meaning the drawdown is practically nil. But - if we pull fully out of Iraq by 12/31/2011, then we'll be down to 68,000.
So regarding my assessment: I'm being told that in another year and a half it'll be down to where I wanted it. But as of right now, there's as many as ever before. Looks like Obama's failing on that point.