It's a Ball of Fallujah
Big surprise this morning: The Pentagon says it needs more U.S. troops in Iraq. Yeah, big surprise.
As Bradley Graham put it in this Washington Post story:
The forces available . . . have become limited by the demands of securing Fallujah and overseeing the massive reconstruction effort there—demands that senior U.S. military officers say are likely to tie up a substantial number of Marines and Army troops for weeks.
"Weeks"? Try "years."
As to numbers, Graham's story says 3,000 to 5,000 more troops are needed, and he adds:
The number of U.S. troops in Iraq fell to nearly 100,000 last spring before rising to 138,000, where it has stayed since the summer.
To boost the current level, military commanders have considered extending the stay of more troops due to rotate out shortly, or accelerating the deployment of the 3rd Infantry Division, which is scheduled to start in January. But a third option—drawing all or part of a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division on emergency standby in the United States—has emerged as increasingly likely.
Brings to mind Country Joe McDonald's "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag." As a reminder, here's a verse from that 1965 ditty (please substitute "the desert sand" for "Vietnam" and sing along with me):
Well, come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on fathers, don't hesitate,
Send 'em off before it's too late.
Be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box.
(Good luck trying to see the coffins after they're shipped back to the U.S. The Pentagon's censoring coverage of it; for more on that, read about former CNN International correspondent Ralph Begleiter's fight here, along with a photo of the coffins, and also see this Bush Beat item.)
The Post's Graham writes that the shortage of cannon fodder (my words, not his) "could fuel the U.S. political debate over whether the Bush administration has committed enough forces to secure Iraq." And he writes:
Some senior officers have worried that any move to bring in more U.S. troops could be perceived as a sign of U.S. vulnerability in the face of the tenacious insurgency or as a vote of no confidence in the ability of Iraq's new security forces to fill the gap.
There's reason for that vote of "no confidence." Shouldn't we be able to draw troops from among the millions of Iraqis who supposedly were going to joyously greet our invasion by putting flowers in our soldiers' rifles? (Or did they put homemade bombs under our troops' vehicles?)
Forget about sending Iraqis in to level their own cities and towns. The Post story neglects to get into this, other than to say 2,500 Iraqi troops went into Fallujah with more than 10,000 U.S. troops. But judging by the U.S. State Department's latest "Iraq Weekly Report," the Bush regime's insane decision to dismantle the country's police and armed forces back in 2003 (before frantically trying to rebuild them this year) is really paying off:
• The number of "required" police is 135,000. The number of "trained/on hand" is 44,836.
• The touted "Civilian Intervention Force" of Iraqis we were setting up months ago? (See the September 22 Bush Beat item "It's Iraq, Stupid.") We need 4,920 personnel for it. We have zero—yes, zero. On the other hand, the new "Bureau of Dignitary Protection" requires 500 people and has 359.
• The required number of people for Iraq's new army is 27,000. The number trained or on hand stands at 3,887.
• Iraq's own "National Guard" stands at 43,445 total, but 61,904 are required.
Yes, we'll be dying for them for a while. And we'll be doing the rebuilding—well, our contractors, like Halliburton and Bechtel, will be doing it. The number of Iraqis employed by the puppet regime in "Buildings, Health, & Education" plummeted 13.1 percent last week.