Thursday, December 21, 2006

12 Reasons Why More Troops Won't Work

Some 10, 20 or 30 thousand additional troops at so late a date in a war that required three times the 140,000 troops that former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld allocated will have little impact. American troops have become central to the problem; they are no longer central to the solution.
An increasing number of Iraqis depend on sectarian militas for protection from the onslaught of kidnappings and killings. More troops aren't likely to change that.

Training of Iraqi army and police recruits to replace U.S. troops continues to fall behind. Many recruits are assigned to units based on their political and religious beliefs. The desertion rate is high. Some units side with and protect sectarian militias.

The long-held view that U.S. troops cannot make inroads unless the Iraqis first ease sectarian tensions is now being turned on its head: It is disingenuous to believe that more troops will enable the Iraqis to then ease sectarian tensions.

Previous efforts in June and August to restore stability to the worst neighborhoods in Baghdad by injecting more U.S. troops failed because death squads simply adapted to American tactics.

U.S. troops do not have the training or language skills to be big-city beat cops. Posting additional troops on Baghdad street corners is an invitation for carnage.

It is notable that the Baghdad government has not called for more troops. It almost seems like a bit player at this point, not the full-fledged partner that was going to assure a brighter future for long-suffering Iraqis.

No less an authority than the Joint Chiefs of Staff say that it does not make sense to send additional troops without a coherent strategy on how to use them.

That said, there is no new strategic ground to be broken. There are only so many ways to skin this particular cat. All have been tried -- and failed.

The Army already is at the breaking point. Sending additional troops will cause tremendous upheaval in deployment schedules, including the further extension of tours that already have been repeatedly extended and further the drawing down of dangerously depleted stateside National Guard units, all of which will further degrad morale.

Military options cannot be considered in isolation from political options. Sending more troops without concomitant initiatives to mend the dysfunctional Baghdad government and reach out to all of Iraq's neighbors undermine the entire effort.

No matter how many troops are sent, they cannot stay indefinitely. Time is on the side of the militias and insurgents, and they will simply wait out the Americans.

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