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Bob Novak:Generals weary of low troop level

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  • Bob Novak:Generals weary of low troop level

    Interesting read ...

    Generals weary of low troop levels

    April 8, 2004


    The New York Times Book Review of last Sunday received unusual attention in the Pentagon's corridors this week. The review of In the Company of Soldiers by Washington Post war correspondent Rick Atkinson reveals the ridiculously low estimate made by the Pentagon's civilian leadership of troops needed in Iraq. Those words echoed eerily amid news of open fighting in Baghdad between U.S. troops and Shiite militia.

    In the afterword following his brilliant account of the actual war, Atkinson wrote: ''Pentagon planners in early May had predicted that U.S. troop levels would be down to 30,000 by late summer [of 2003].'' That was the first time that prediction had been seen in print by startled readers at the Defense Department. The existing 125,000 troop level (currently at 135,000 because of replacements) is considered inadequate by the generals. Gen. John Abizaid, the regional commander-in-chief, has made clear he will ask for more troops if his subordinate commanders need them.

    But Afghanistan also needs more troops. So where will they come from? Nobody knows, and that connotes an overcommitment by the United States and a miscalculation at the Defense Department. The uniformed military does not speak out publicly, but the generals are outraged. A former national security official considers the relationship at the Pentagon between civilians and the military as worse than at any time in his long career.

    At the heart of this debate is the original belief by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's team that conquering U.S. troops would be welcomed by open arms in Iraq. In this highly political season, Democrats are replaying the debate of a year ago. Gen. Eric Shinseki, then about to leave as the Army's chief of staff, said ''several hundred thousand soldiers'' could be needed in Iraq. ''Way off the mark,'' retorted Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

    Adhering to the principle of civilian control of the military and unvarying obedience to orders, the generals have not publicly expressed their opinion that Shinseki was much closer to the truth than Wolfowitz. However, Abizaid made clear Monday that he was not going to be the fall guy if conditions in Iraq further deteriorate. If commanders want more troops to fulfill their mission, he will ask for them. That would leave Rumsfeld with no choice. The secretary announced on Tuesday that the generals ''will get what they ask.''

    The problem of where to find these troops is not easily solved. There are simply no large units available and suitable for assignment. The 3rd Infantry Division was sent home early, but is now in the midst of Rumsfeld's ''transformation'' (from three brigades to five) and so is not ready to be inserted into combat. National Guard brigades could be activated, but the need for full training before going to war means they cannot help resolve the present crisis.

    Democrats have demanded the use of foreign troops, but countries that previously refused to help without a U.N. mandate have not changed their minds. Britain announced Tuesday it was replacing an armored brigade, keeping its contribution at the present level of 8,700 troops but not adding any. Spain's new leftist government wants out. That leaves only Turkey willing to help, but the United States has ruled that out in the face of fierce Kurdish opposition.

    Although underestimating troop needs in a less political environment would mean fixing the blame at the Pentagon, every issue today becomes a test of party loyalty. Senators Richard Lugar and Chuck Hagel, the top two Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are assailed by the White House for offering constructive criticism. With Sen. Edward M. Kennedy setting the Democratic line by saying that ''Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam,'' sensible dialogue is impossible.

    While Democrats roar, the generals are silent -- in public. Many confide that they will not cast their normal Republican votes on Nov. 2. They cannot bring themselves to vote for John Kerry, who has been a consistent Senate vote against the military. But they say they are unable to vote for Don Rumsfeld's boss, and so will not vote at all.
    Dude. Can. Fly.

  • #2
    U.S. troops would be welcomed by open arms
    Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.


    • #3
      Haven't you been paying attention? This insurgency is merely a small number of radicals without any real popular base of support. This violence is merely evidence of their desperation as they are in the midst of their death rattle.

      Besides, I don't see what the problem is, if we need more help, I'm sure that the Aussies will kick in a couple divisions - they've always been there for us in the past. Shit man, they play that fucking badass version of football - they'll have that placed cleaned up before you can say Paul Hogan three times fast.



      • #4
        Its been a notoriously quiet weekend as far as the Bush supporters posting in political forums go, hasnt it been?

        Where are all the flowers and lemonades that were supposed to be waiting for us in Iraq?
        “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

        Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.


        • #5
          The only single thing to unite the different groups of people in Iraq has been their desire for US to get the F out of their country.
          Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Razzy@Apr 11 2004, 05:22 PM
            Its been a notoriously quiet weekend as far as the Bush supporters posting in political forums go, hasnt it been?

            Where are all the flowers and lemonades that were supposed to be waiting for us in Iraq?
            They got the lemons right...
            Go Cards ...12 in 13.