Monday, February 25, 2008

For The Foreseeable Future

The surge has been such a glorious success that the Pentagon announced today that there will still be more troops in Iraq in July than there were in January, according to this article put up this afternoon in the NY Times.

The Defense Department is projecting that when the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq ends in July, there will be about 8,000 more troops on the ground than when it began in January 2007, a senior general said Monday.

Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, operations chief for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that by July the troop total is likely to be 140,000. That compares with 132,000 when President George W. Bush approved orders to send an additional five Army brigades to Iraq to improve security and avert civil war.

Ham also announced that the Pentagon believes U.S. force levels in Afghanistan will stand at 32,000 in late summer, up from about 28,000 currently. The current total is the highest since the war began in October 2001, and another 3,200 Marines are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan this spring.
[Emphasis added]

The reason for the higher levels in Iraq? Apparently the Iraqi forces just aren't progressing fast enough to take over security issues in their own country. Well, why should they? With Uncle Sugar there to take all the heat (and the road side IEDs), there's really no reason to rush into that kind of responsibility now, is there?

And Afghanistan? Well, our allies in NATO are beginning to get restless. The US has been so busy with the war of choice in Iraq, that many European nations feel like they're having to take the brunt of that war, and unfairly so. Those countries are simply unwilling to take on that burden, and who could blame them?

But wait, there's more from Lt. Gen. Ham:

Ham said it was not possible to know how long troop levels would stay at 140,000. He noted that the Joint Staff and other military organizations are studying post-July troop levels and will make recommendations to Bush this spring.

The general, asked if the total would be below 132,000 by the time Bush leaves office next January, said, “It would be premature to say that.”
[Emphasis added]

Won't be home for July 4th, won't be home for Thanksgiving, won't be home for Christmas.

Sen. McCain's "100 years" statement is beginning to sound dreadfully prescient.

329 days

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