Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday that President Obama could deploy 33,000 troops rather than 30,000, if needed.
They will be.
NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters, "Based on what we have heard in the last 24 hours, we are beyond the 5,000 figure... There are well over 20 countries that are indicating or have already indicated that they intend to increase their troop numbers in Afghanistan."
A quick glance at the math shows that 5,000-7,000 NATO soldiers leave the perfect fit for 3,000 additional US troops, raising the new force to an even 40,000. A clever little PR stunt, though not transparent in the least. Appathurai also admitted "significant shortfalls" of army and police trainers, a critical component of Obama's strategy.
More US trainers may be getting the call as well. Obama doesn't appear to be finished deploying.