Saturday, April 22, 2006

Did the generals want more troops?

The Bush administration has repeated so many times its talking point that the Pentagon and the White House sent as many troops as the generals on the ground said they needed. The problem is, it just ain't so. General Anthony Zinni was on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday, 2006-04-21. General Zinni said before the Iraq invasion that — if we were going to invade Iraq — we should send a force of 380,000 troops, more than double the number we actually sent. Back on 2006-01-17, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, the interim viceroy of Iraq, was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He recounted a conversation he had with General Sanchez, as recorded in his book My Year in Iraq, in which Bremer asked Sanchez what he could do with 35,000 more troops. General Sanchez answered that he could secure Baghdad.

Baghdad has never been secured in the three-plus years since the initial invasion. As Ambassador Bremer himself noted, "[There was] more than 'some' [looting], [there was] a lot, and it did billions of dollars of damage, but actually the more serious damage was the message that we [U.S. and Coalition forces] were not prepared to enforce law and order, which is, after all, the most fundamental role of government." And yet nobody thought that actually securing Baghdad might be a good idea??? In particular, nobody thought it might be a good idea to do that with 35,000 additional troops in 2003 instead of maybe 300,000 additional troops in 2006??

We did not secure Baghdad after the invasion. The generals on the ground said that we could secure Baghdad with more troops. We needed to secure Baghdad, and securing Baghdad would have done a great deal to stop the enormous momentum of the rising insurgency. Therefore it is absolutely absurd to claim that the generals did not ask for more troops.

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