Why The Surge Will Fail and Worsen the SituationJanuary 9, 2007 at 1:54 pm | Posted in Afghanistan, American politics, Bush Administration, George W Bush, Iraq, King George, Military, neo-conservatives, Osama Bin Laden, Republicans, War, War on Terror | 64 Comments
There are two indications why Bush’s surge will fail and worsen the already horrible situation.
Bush needs 20,000 additional troops (according to Fred Kagan’s plan), but he really does not have extra troops sitting around. So what is he going to do? Withdraw them from Afghanistan of course!
“As a last-ditch effort, President Bush is expected to announce this week the dispatch of thousands of additional troops to Iraq as a stopgap measure, an order that Pentagon officials say would strain the Army and Marine Corps as they struggle to man both wars.
“Already, a U.S. Army infantry battalion fighting in a critical area of eastern Afghanistan is due to be withdrawn within weeks in order to deploy to Iraq.
“According to Army Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Tata and other senior U.S. commanders here, that will happen just as the Taliban is expected to unleash a major campaign to cut the vital road between Kabul and Kandahar. The official said the Taliban intend to seize Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city and the place where the group was organized in the 1990s…
“Conway said U.S. commanders understand that the Afghan war is an “economy of force” operation, a military term for a mission that is given minimal resources because it is a secondary priority, in this case behind Iraq…
In other words, the bad guys who attacked us on 9/11 are second priority to the Bush administration to a nation that did not attack us…..
As Brian Ulrich of American Footprints says:
If Vali Nasr is right that the Iraq surge is aimed at destroying Muqtada Sadr’s Mahdi Army – and I haven’t seen much supporting that beyond his post – then the United States policy will be to retreat further from the battle against the forces which attacked us on September 11 to as to stamp out the main military support of the government we helped install in Baghdad, and which also happens to be a sworn enemy of al-Qaeda.
So we let Afghanistan burn to put troops in Iraq that actually won’t be able to fix the problem because, well, here’s the second indication why this surge is going to fail. General David Patraeus, the new general overseeing Iraq, previously wrote the counterinsurgency field manual for the Army. In it he recommends at least 20 soldiers for every 1000 people. In a city the size of Baghdad, well, that’s a lot more soldiers than we have in the whole country. Read the following:
Petraeus and his co-authors discussed this strategy at great length in the Army’s counterinsurgency field manual. One point they made is that it requires a lot of manpower—at minimum, 20 combat troops for every 1,000 people in the area’s population. Baghdad has about 6 million people; so clearing, holding, and building it will require about 120,000 combat troops.
Right now, the United States has about 70,000 combat troops in all of Iraq (another 60,000 or so are support troops or headquarters personnel). Even an extra 20,000 would leave the force well short of the minimum required—and that’s with every soldier and Marine in Iraq moved to Baghdad. Iraqi security forces would have to make up the deficit.
Fred Kaplan continues:
But security is the prerequisite, and to achieve enduring security, the hard arithmetic indicates that Bush needs to send in a lot more troops than 20,000. The problem is, he doesn’t have them, and he won’t be able to get them for many years, under the best of circumstances. (Even if he reimposed the draft—a sure way to convert popular disenchantment with the war to rioting-in-the-streets opposition—it would take a few years to get the Selective Service System running and to mobilize, train, and equip the draftees.)
So because he doesn’t have them, Bush is forced to make a choice. Does he take soldiers away from the fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaida (and Bin Laden) or does he allow Baghdad to dive further into its civil war? What happens when you still don’t have enough troops to accomplish victory? Does that not lead not just to failure, but a worsening of the situation? We know, from Porter Goss’s testimony in Congress that insurgents are using our military presence in Iraq to recruit more jihadists. Just what do we expect to accomplish by sending in an insufficiently sized force? Further, what are we telling Afghans? Most importantly, what are we telling Al-Qaida? This president of ours, George W. Bush, finds every way possible to worsen the situation. It is time for him to go. Fire. George. W. Bush. Now!
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