Thursday, February 01, 2007

Troop Surge Double What Bush Said

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After four years of lying about everything to do with the Iraq war -- the intelligence, the weapons of mass destruction, the cost, the number of troops needed, the human rights violations, and on and on, what are a few more lies going to hurt?

It now turns out that when Pres. Bush told us he was sending 21,500 more troops to Iraq, he really meant he was sending 43,000. And when the White House told Congress the cost of the escalation would be about $5.6 billion, they really meant the additional cost would be a minimum of $9 billion for a four-month deployment, and a minimum of $20 billion for a year-long deployment.

Here's why:

Thus far, the Department of Defense (DoD) has identified only combat units for deployment. However, U.S. military operations also require substantial
support forces, including personnel to staff headquarters, serve as military police, and provide communications, contracting, engineering, intelligence, medical, and other services. Over the past few years , DoD’s practice has been to deploy a total of about 9,500 personnel per combat brigade to the Iraq theater, including about 4,000 combat troops and about 5,500 supporting troops.

DoD has not yet indicated which support units will be deployed along with the added combat forces, or how many additional troops will be involved. Army and DoD officials have indicated that it will be both possible and desirable to deploy fewer additional support units than historical practice would indicate. CBO expects that, even if the additional brigades required fewer support units than historical practice suggests, those units would still represent a significant additional number of military personnel.

But the deception deepens:

The top U.S. commander in Iraq told a Senate panel Thursday that improving security in Baghdad would take fewer than half as many extra troops as President Bush has chosen to commit.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on his nomination to be Army chief of staff, Gen. George Casey said he had asked for two additional Army brigades, based on recommendations of his subordinate commanders. Bush announced Jan. 10 that he would send five extra brigades as part of a buildup that would total 21,500 soldiers and Marines.

Asked by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., why he had not requested the full five extra brigades that Bush is sending, Casey said, "I did not want to bring one more American soldier into Iraq than was necessary to accomplish the mission."

With many in Congress opposing or skeptical of Bush's troop buildup, Casey did not say he opposed the president's decision. He said the full complement of five brigades would give U.S. commanders in Iraq additional, useful flexibility.

"In my mind, the other three brigades should be called forward after an assessment has been made on the ground" about whether they are needed to ensure success in Baghdad, Casey said later.

Even so, Casey's comments seemed put distance between his views and those of Bush and some lawmakers like Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who have questioned whether Bush's troop increase will be enough.

But we're still supposed to believe what Bush tells us and "support the troops" by supporting the lies.

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