Joint Chiefs: No More Troops
The reason? Same as always…no coherent plan.
The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.
Sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops for a mission of possibly six to eight months is one of the central proposals on the table of the White House policy review to reverse the steady deterioration in Iraq. The option is being discussed as an element in a range of bigger packages, the officials said.
But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public.
The chiefs have taken a firm stand, the sources say, because they believe the strategy review will be the most important decision on Iraq to be made since the March 2003 invasion.
I continue to hold out hope that somebody in the White House will get their act together and draw up a coherent exit plan (call it victory plan, but we all know it’s an exit plan), but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that it’s just not going to happen. We’re going to ask for more of our men and women to die without any clear strategy except “More troops staying longer in places that are dangerous.” That’s not a plan, that’s suicide.
And by the way, we don’t need 30,000 new troops…we need 100,000 new troops. And we’ve heard as much that this 30,000 number is way too low to secure Baghdad and the surrounding areas…
The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, the officials said.
The informal but well-armed Shiite militias, the Joint Chiefs have also warned, may simply melt back into society during a U.S. surge and wait until the troops are withdrawn — then reemerge and retake the streets of Baghdad and other cities.
We need to force the Iraqi government to stand up, and we can’t do that by continuing to pretend that they’re trying to make a cohesive coalition. Until we can force their hands, Iraq will continue to be the hornet’s nest we just keep on naively poking hoping that it’ll make them sting less.