Friday, March 16, 2007

Surge, surge, and more surge

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It looks like Petraeus wants to escalate the surge:

The top US commander in Iraq has requested another Army brigade, in addition to five already on the way, as part of the controversial "surge" of American troops designed to clamp down on sectarian violence and insurgent groups, senior Pentagon officials said yesterday.

The appeal -- not yet made public -- by General David Petraeus for a combat aviation unit would involve between 2,500 and 3,000 more soldiers and dozens of transport helicopters and powerful gunships, said the Pentagon sources. That would bring the planned expansion of US forces to close to 30,000 troops.

"This is the next shoe to drop," said one senior Pentagon official closely involved in the war planning, who requested anonymity because of prohibitions against publicly discussing internal deliberations. "But you cannot put five combat brigades in there and not have more aviation guys, military police, and intelligence units."

And yet "even supporters of the stepped-up US commitment in Iraq [have] criticized the Bush administration," including one of the more prominent advocates of the surge, indeed, one of the key strategists behind the very idea of the surge (as Slate's Fred Kaplan explained back in December):

"There is a problem in the way the administration reported the surge numbers to begin with," said Frederick W. Kagan, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "When they initially reported the numbers they only reported the combat strength of the brigades, and they did not count support troops" and other personnel that the operation would need.

"Petraeus has now requested what many thought would be needed to begin with," Kagan said, "but it looks like another surge."

Be careful what you wish far, it seems. The surge, a bad idea to begin with, is fast getting out of hand.

Where will it end? And how much more deception will Bush employ to keep his disastrous war not only going but expanding?

The Carpetbagger Report has more.

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