November 22, 2004

Too Little, Too Late (But Better Than Nothing)

The possibility that additional troops would be required to battle the insurgency in this critical period preceding the Iraqi elections has been signaled for weeks. The Pentagon took an initial step in this direction last month, ordering about 6,500 soldiers in Iraq to extend their tours by up to two months.

With some fresh U.S. forces already arriving in Iraq as part of a long-scheduled rotation, and two newly trained Iraqi brigades due to start operating next month, U.S. military leaders had hoped to avoid further increases.

But over the past week, a closer assessment of the forces needed for the Fallujah recovery effort and future offensive operations revealed a gap in desired troop strength, at least over the next two or three months, according to several officers familiar with the issue.

The officers said the exact number of extra troops needed is still being reviewed but estimated it at the equivalent of several battalions, or about 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers. The number of U.S. troops in Iraq fell to nearly 100,000 last spring before rising to 138,000, where it has stayed since the summer.

From the WaPo.

Fifty thousand would be better. But I'll take five. It's a start. But it's not enough to remedy such ridiculousness.

P.S. I'm not alone in my view...

MR. RUSSERT: More American troops?

SEN. McCAIN: I've said that for--since a year ago last August.

MR. RUSSERT: How many more do you think we need, Senator, in all honesty?

SEN. McCAIN: I would say at least 40,000 or 50,000 more, but...

MR. RUSSERT: Where are you going to find them?

SEN. McCAIN: I think you can find them, but it's an enormous strain. We also have to plan on increasing the size of the Army and the Marine Corps. Among others, General McCaffrey is a guy I admire. He says the--you need to increase the Army by about 80,000 and the Marines by 20,000 to 30,000. I don't dispute that. He and others tell me that that's about the right numbers.


Posted by Gregory at November 22, 2004 03:23 AM
Comments

greg, there you go again--asking questions about troop levels. don't you know that, should commanders on the ground require them, they would have asked for more troops before? the fact that the main airport road isn't secure, over a year and a half into the conflict, doesn't mean squat. why can't you get your mind around that, you arm-chair whiner and defeatist. For shame.

Posted by: jj at November 22, 2004 05:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Arm chair generals (Gregory and McCain), I will take the judgment of the "real" generals on the ground, thanks.

Last I checked, McCain never achieved general status either, so cheer up, plenty of arm chairs to go around.

Posted by: Captain America at November 23, 2004 12:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

er, "***Senior U.S. military commanders*** in Iraq say ..."

Posted by: praktike at November 23, 2004 02:44 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

McCain has been pushing a bigger military for years. He agrees with anyone who agrees with him.

McCafferey was one of those begging for more troops for Afhanistan before thye US webt in and for more troops before the invasion of Iraq.

Too many real retired generals think cold war and he is one of them. 500,000 was not to small a figure for Afghanistan or Iraq.

One of the main problems with the drawdown after the cold war was that the reserves became an integral part of the force structure. Certain specialities such as civil affairs and Military Police were linked into the reserves.
Any conflict requiring large number for an extended time means the reserves are drawn into the mix.

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