U.S. Considers Large, Temporary Troop Increase in Iraq
By DAVID S. CLOUD
Published: November 21, 2006
WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 — Pentagon officials conducting a review of Iraq strategy are considering a substantial but temporary increase in American troop levels and the addition of several thousand more trainers to work with Iraqi forces, a senior Defense Department official said Monday.
The idea, dubbed the “surge option” by some officials, would involve increasing American forces by 20,000 troops or more for several months in the hope of improving security, especially in Baghdad. That would mark a sharp rise over the current baseline of 144,000 troops.
But some officials and senior military officers are arguing against the idea, saying that it could undercut a sense of urgency for Iraqi units to take on a greater role in fighting the insurgency and preventing sectarian attacks. Gen. John P. Abizaid, the head of the United States Central Command, told Congress last week that the military was stretched so thin that such an increase could not be sustained over the long term.
“There are people who believe that a short-term surge would have a beneficial impact, but there isn’t universal agreement on that yet,” said the senior official, who said that President Bush was scheduled to be briefed in the next several weeks on the developing options, which were first reported Monday in The Washington Post.
There is far more consensus within the Pentagon on the need to increase the number of American trainers, more than 3,000 of whom are working with Iraqi Army, police and border units. General Abizaid endorsed that idea in general terms in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week.
I think the day is coming when an Iraqi unit kills or captures their American trainers.
posted by Steve @ 1:33:00 AM