Monday, August 08, 2005

Pentagon announces more troops to Iraq

Amidst all the recent talk and speculation of a US troop withdrawal from Iraq, it appears the US may first increase troop levels in country to address security needs. According to this in the Washington Post, the Pentagon is going to increase troop levels in Iraq in anticipation of the October and December referendum and election:

Anticipating a new burst of insurgent violence, the Pentagon plans to expand the U.S. force in Iraq to improve security for a planned October referendum and a December election.

Although much public attention has been focused recently on the prospect of reducing U.S. forces next spring and summer, defense officials foresee the likelihood of first increasing troop levels.

Lawrence Di Rita, spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, noted Monday that troop levels were raised last January during Iraq's first elections, and then returned to the current level of about 138,000 several weeks later.

"It's perfectly plausible to assume we'll do the same thing for this election," he said, while stressing that no decisions had been made.

My first thought in reaction to this announcement is to wonder what the Rumsfeld critics think of sending additional troops. You know, the ones who argue that the root of our problem in Iraq is a direct result of poor planning:

Question: Do we have enough U.S. troops in Iraq to take territory and then to hold onto it?

BIDEN: Absolutely not. We haven't had it from two years ago, a year ago, six months ago.

I came back from Iraq after my fifth trip on Memorial Day. I met with every major general that was there. They all said they didn't have enough forces to mount a counterinsurgency, which means that you have to seal that border; when you take territory, you have to occupy it.

These brave Marines go out in Anbar province, which is along the Syrian border out there. They clear out territory. They have to leave; it fills up again.

We don't have enough troops.

Perhaps I overthink this; my cynical assumption is that Bush critics--not critics of the war, per se, but the ABB types--will jump on any opportunity to criticize. Even if said criticism flies in the face of points they've made in the past.

In otherwords, I sadly expect to hear people who criticized the administration for poor planning and who screamed about troop levels criticize the decision to increase security because it puts more innocent soldiers in harm's way for Haliburton.

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