Sherard Cowper-Coles (former British Ambassador in Afghanistan), in his new book Cables from Kabul, claims that "the top brass were keen to commit troops to keep the army fully employed: 'It's use them or lose them', one top general apparrently told him." [The Week, 2/7/11].
Should this surprise or shock us? I don't see why. Once again, these are jobs, and it is currently socially desirable to have a job - it doesn't especially matter what the job is. And if more troop deployment is antagonising our opponents, they will retaliate more, and so appears a vicious circle. But this is good - more jobs and more economic growth.