20 December 2006
yesterday evening, the washington post published the following story about how president bush plans to increase the troop levels in iraq. meanwhile editor & publisher posted the results of a cnn poll in which its revealed that only eleven percent (11%) of the people support sending more troops. there is something extremely wrong when only ten or eleven percent of the people dictate to the majority the policy of this country.
Bush to Expand Size of Military
By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 19, 2006; 4:18 PM
President Bush said today that he plans to expand the size of the U.S. military to meet the challenges of a long-term global war against terrorists, a response to warnings that sustained deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the armed forces to near the breaking point.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Bush said he has instructed newly sworn-in Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to report back to him with a plan to increase ground forces. The president gave no estimates about how many troops may be added but indicated that he agreed with suggestions in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill that the current military is stretched too thin to cope with the demands placed on it.
"I'm inclined to believe that we do need to increase our troops -- the Army, the Marines," Bush said in the Oval Office session. "And I talked about this to Secretary Gates and he is going to spend some time talking to the folks in the building, come back with a recommendation to me about how to proceed forward on this idea."
The president's decision comes at a time when he is rethinking his strategy in Iraq and considering, among other options, a short-term surge in troop levels to try to secure violence-torn Baghdad. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are resisting the idea during internal debates in part out of the conviction that it will further strain already-pressed forces.
A substantial military expansion will take years and would not be meaningful in the near term in Iraq. But it would begin to address the growing alarm among commanders about the state of the armed forces. Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, warned Congress last week that the active-duty Army "will break" under the strain of today's war-zone rotations. Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell, a retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday that "the active Army is about broken."
The Army has already temporarily increased its size from 482,000 active-duty soldiers in 2001 to 507,000 today and soon to 512,000. But the Army wants to make that 30,000-soldier increase permanent and then grow an additional 7,000 soldiers or more per year. The Army estimates that every 10,000 additional soldiers will cost about $1.2 billion a year.
The incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee spoke out forcefully today for increasing the size of the Army and Marines, noting that their leaders describe the services as "stretched and strained." "We're going to have to pay attention to this," Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) told reporters. Saying the two services are "bleeding," he added, "I think we have to apply the tourniquet and strengthen the forces. I think that will be a major part of our work."
In describing his decision today, Bush tied it to the broader struggle against Islamic extremists around the world rather than Iraq specifically. "It is an accurate reflection that this ideological war we're in is going to last for a while and that we're going to need a military that's capable of being able to sustain our efforts and to help us achieve peace," he said.
Asked about Powell's assessment, Bush chose a different term. "I haven't heard the word 'broken,' " he said, "but I've heard the word, 'stressed.' . . . We need to reset our military. There's no question the military has been used a lot. And the fundamental question is, will Republicans and Democrats be able to work with the administration to assure our military and the American people that we will position our military so that it is ready and able to stay engaged in a long war?"
Bush said he has not yet made a decision about a new strategy for Iraq and would wait for Gates to make a trip to Iraq to assess the situation for himself. "I need to talk to him when he gets back," the president said. "I've got more consultations to do with the national security team, which will be consulting with other folks. And I'm going to take my time to make sure that the policy, when it comes out, the American people will see that we . . . have got a new way forward."
Among the options under review by the White House is sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops to Iraq for six to eight months. The idea has the support of important figures such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and has been pushed by some inside the White House, but the Joint Chiefs have balked because they believe advocates have not adequately defined the mission and are pushing it mainly because of limited alternatives, according to U.S. officials.
The chiefs have warned that a short-term surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, according to the officials, who described the review on condition of anonymity because it is not complete.
Bush would not discuss such ideas in detail but said "all options are viable." He said he also wanted the American and Iraqi people to know that he would press the Iraqis to do more to secure their own country. "We expect the Iraqi people to continue making hard choices and doing hard work necessary to succeed," he said, "and our job is to help them do so."
Posted by wst... at 11:11