Sunday, December 17, 2006
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that the American Enterprise Institute had issued a study that called for increasing troops levels in Iraq. And appearing on Journal Editorial Report this morning was noted neo-con, signatory of the Project for the New American Century and AEI member, Fred Kagan, to explain what was needed to achieve victory in Iraq.
And bear in mind, these are the voices George Bush is listening to as he decides on what the "new way forward" will be in Iraq.
Kagan began by saying that securing Baghdad was an "absolute prerequisite," and that it could only be achieved with more troops. Paul Gigot, the host and an editor at the Wall Street Journal, asked how many troops they were proposing:
We're proposing a surge of 4 brigades, which is about 20,000 American combat troops into Baghdad and a number more, totaling about 35,000 American combat troops into other places in Iraq.
Leaving aside for a moment the question of where these 55,000 troops will come from, if securing Baghdad is so critical, why would 35,000 troops be sent elsewhere? The situation in Anbar province must be worse than we thought. But back to the interview. Gigot then asked how long this surge of troops would last. Six months, 18 months, or even 24 months?
I think that there's going to have to be a sustained surge through the end of the Bush presidency. I think it's a real mistake to imagine that we can do this with some sort of temporary bump and then pull back quickly.
Through the end? Kagan didn't say how far through, but if the recomendations in this report are adopted by the White House, that means close to 200,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at least until 2009.
And where will these troops come from? Generals are saying our military "will break" under the current troop rotations and that sending in even an additional 20,000 troops won't solve the problem. Kagan says, no problem:
We looked very carefully at that problem and we looked at the troops that the Army is proposing to bring into Iraq over the course of the next year. We looked at various ways of extending the tours of some of the troops that are going to be in Iraq, umm, accelerating the deployment of a couple of units by a matter of a few weeks. This is perfectly feasible.
Never mind the men and women who are already on their second or third deployments, after all, they volunteered. Never mind that deploying troops before they and their equipment is ready could mean their lives. And never mind breaking the Army, because victory is still feasible...on paper.
What about casualties?
You will have more American casualties in the short term. I believe that you'll have fewer American casualties taken overall. And I think that there will be American casualties in a winning effort, which I think matters a great deal. Uhhh...tragic as any loss of life, of course, in this war is.
A few things about the language used in that statement; notice that when he speak of casualties, it becomes, "You will have"? Not we, you. And he states definitively that there will be casualties, but if we follow his plan, he believes there won't be as many. An easy chance to take when it isn't your life on the line.
And what else has Mr. Kagan and the braintrust at the AEI concluded?
...we do think this nation is going to have to make a real committment to this war.
Apparently they didn't get the memo on how the American people feel about this war. Of course, neither has George Bush.