Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Iraq III: How Many Troops Would Matter?

With the Iraq debate focusing on troops, how many more would make a difference?

Sorry, that's the wrong question. The right question is what kind of troops would make a difference?
Rapid-reaction forces in Humvees and other light vehicles to patrol Iraq's pourous borders. Combat engineers to help rebuild the electrical grid and other systems. Civil affairs officers to help build a political system.
The problem, according to a New York Times article, is that there aren't that many more troops available and more troops may not help in the long term because
"Many senior officers and military analysts argue that more soldiers conducting more combat missions would only add to a sense among many Iraqis that the United States is a clumsy and violent occupying power."
General John P. Abizad, the top American commander in the Middle East, said Tuesday that the more than 140,000 soldiers now in Iraq are likely to be needed there at least until next spring because of continuing sectarian violence and the effort to secure Baghdad.

More here.

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