Wednesday, December 27, 2006

We Were Against Being Stupid Before We Were For It

OK, right now you're thinking how could the president even remotely consider adding more troops to the train wreck he created in Iraq. That shows how little you know about military strategy. Also, apparently how little the generals in Iraq know.

Until recently, the top ground commander in Iraq, General George W. Casey Jr., has argued that sending more American forces into Baghdad and Anbar Province, the two most violent regions of Iraq, would increase the Iraqi dependency on Washington, and in the words of one senior official, “make this feel more like an occupation.”

"But all that changed when the president made it to level three on World of Warcraft," said White House Press Secretary Tony Snowjob. "It's a masterful strategy when you think about it," Snowjob told reporters. "Just when the rest of the world thinks that reality is breaking through, he does something so totally off the wall that, well the man's brilliance just leaves me breathless."

“Nobody has decided anything yet,” cautioned a pentagon spokesperson. “We are still giving the president fish oil and have increased his Vinpocetine suppliments.”

Over the past two weeks, Mr. Bush has appeared at odds with the generals in some of his comments, as the White House veered toward strategies that involve a greater show of force and some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff questioned whether a “surge” in forces would make a lasting difference. "Well, depends on your definiiton of 'lasting,'" Snowjob said. "'Lasting until the end of this administration? Sure. Beyond that we don't really care."

General Casey, suggested that he was not actively lobbying for it. At the same time, he indicated that he was not adamantly opposed to it. “Additional troops have to be for a purpose,” the general said. “I’m not necessarily opposed to the idea, of more American troops here, but they need to help us progress toward our strategic objectives. Actually, though, when you think about it, probably would be a good idea to get some strategic objectives first, huh?”

Politically, winning the support of American generals for the additional troops is crucial to Mr. Bush if he hopes to make the increase part of the new strategy he is expected to announce in early January. "Well, technically the president could just order them to agree with him like he's been doing since the war started."

The key to any new strategy, some officials said, would be a binding commitment by the Iraqi government that it would provide far more troops as well. "The problem for the Iraqis is that most of their troops are already in the militias so they aren't available for the army." said a pentagon spokesperson.

Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, who oversees the training of Iraq’s security forces, said this week that he was overhauling his training efforts so that Iraqi Army units would be easier to deploy, including providing more pay. "We'll get them to the action faster, and some of them will even have guns," he said.

“We’ve got two or three brigade headquarters and six additional battalions that are scheduled now over the next couple of months to come to Baghdad,” he said. An Iraqi battalion nominally has more than 700 soldiers, but the actual number is often far less, since many soldiers are on scheduled leaves or absent without leave.

When asked how large the AWOL problem was in the Iraqi army, a spokesperson for central command explained that since most Iraqi army recruits were actually on leave from their militias, they often had to leave their army post for training with thier militia unit. "

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