Audio: Bush says he wants to expand the Army and Marines

posted at 6:57 pm on December 19, 2006 by Allahpundit

A quickie from WaPo’s interview with him earlier today. Good to hear, but suddenly discovering that we need more manpower three and three-quarters years after the invasion calls to mind a different snatch of audio.

As for Iraq itself, to surge or not to surge? WaPo claims the Joint Chiefs are unanimously against the idea, which leaves them improbably aligned with the left and us aligned with the Kossacks’ favorite retired generals, Zinni and Batiste. The Pentagon now acknowledges that Sadr’s boys are the biggest threat facing the country, more so even than AQ, but the question is whether they’ll come out to play if we send another 30,000 troops to engage them.

At regular interagency meetings and in briefing President Bush last week, the Pentagon has warned that any short-term mission may only set up the United States for bigger problems when it ends. The service chiefs have warned that a short-term mission could give an enormous edge to virtually all the armed factions in Iraq — including al-Qaeda’s foreign fighters, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias — without giving an enduring boost to the U.S military mission or to the Iraqi army, the officials said.

The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest 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, the officials said.

The informal but well-armed Shiite militias, the Joint Chiefs have also warned, may simply melt back into society during a U.S. surge and wait until the troops are withdrawn — then reemerge and retake the streets of Baghdad and other cities.

Iraqi politicians are split too, predictably along sectarian lines. The Sunnis want a surge because it might neutralize Sadr; the Shiites oppose it because it might neutralize Sadr. Or retard Shiite military dominance in whatever form it eventually takes.

Hillary’s also against it, of course. She’s spent as much political capital as she can afford to supporting the war. If there’s a seat left in the lifeboats, she’ll lunge for it.

Exit question: Sully’s been pushing for more troops since forever. Is he onboard with a surge? Or is the prospect of having his plan put into action and failing too terrible to risk?

Update: Hitchens invites the left’s wrath by arguing that civil war isn’t America’s fault.

The Kurds had already withdrawn themselves from this divide-and-rule system by the time the coalition forces arrived, while Shiite grievances against the state were decades old and had been hugely intensified by Saddam’s cruelty. Nothing was going to stop their explosion, and if Saddam Hussein’s regime had been permitted to run its course and to devolve (if one can use such a mild expression) into the successorship of Udai and Qusai, the resulting detonation would have been even more vicious. And into the power vacuum would have stepped not only Saudi Arabia and Iran, each with its preferred confessional faction, but also Turkey, in pursuit of hegemony in Kurdistan. In other words, the alternative was never between a tranquil if despotic Iraq and a destabilizing foreign intervention, but it was, rather, a race to see which kind of intervention there would be.


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Comments

Surge or no surge, it ain’t gonna work.

The only possible way to ‘win’ is to use extreme overwhelming force with hundreds of thousands of more troops.

I say we actually try to win… but that’s just me.

Opinionnation on December 19, 2006 at 7:27 PM

More troops won’t mean squat if nothing else changes. It sounds like a plan, but more troops in and of itself is no plan at all.

thirteen28 on December 19, 2006 at 7:32 PM

“The Pentagon has warned that any short-term mission may only set up the United States for bigger problems when it ends.”

Really………. It might not make any difference how many more troops are added to the battle unless the handcuffs of the politically correct “Rules of Engagement” are removed, and our soldiers are actually allowed to fight!

Remove the restrictions, and let the enemy start dying in mass, no matter where they are, and this fecal matter will end soon enough!

PinkyBigglesworth on December 19, 2006 at 7:35 PM

We should really just try that PowerPoint plan where we all get mustaches in the end. That at least seemed innovative.

frankj on December 19, 2006 at 7:43 PM

OK, not sure where she read this, but my co-worker just said that Bush was going to start the draft…

Maybe it’s just the conclusion she came to from “increasing troop size” but just beware that this is coming from somewhere.

NTWR on December 19, 2006 at 7:58 PM

Pinky…

(singing) “You took the words right outta my mouth, oooh it musta been while you were kissin’ me”

Time to stop tryin’ to turn this into “another Vietnam” and launch another Operation Linebacker 2.

Tony737 on December 19, 2006 at 8:45 PM

More troops won’t mean squat if nothing else changes. It sounds like a plan, but more troops in and of itself is no plan at all.

thirteen28 on December 19, 2006 at 7:32 PM

More troops in the Army and Marines total, not necessarily more in any particular theatre. That means that they can stay in the theatre for less time and be home more, which is a good thing.

The Monster on December 19, 2006 at 9:07 PM

PinkyBigglesworth on December 19, 2006 at 7:35 PM

I agree it has nothing to do with the number it is the poltically correct rules of engagement. The Baker commision didnt even discuss this subject?

Resolute on December 19, 2006 at 9:14 PM

Hillary Clinton Says She Wouldn’t Have Voted For Iraq War.

Also, I would have used those lottery tickets every time, if I would have known them to be winners.

How many of you get to live and lead like this?

And the idiots are going to believe her.

Hitchens invites the left’s wrath by arguing that civil war isn’t America’s fault

He’s already on the perpetual shit- wrath-list of the Left…

Entelechy on December 19, 2006 at 9:50 PM

NTWR on December 19, 2006 at 7:58 PM

I read the same thing on digg.

The mention of increased troop sizes makes liberals run.

The same thing occurs in the animal kingdom when you shine a light on a roach.

F15Mech on December 19, 2006 at 10:02 PM

Harry Reid has a plan:

Frankly, I don’t believe that more troops is the answer for Iraq. It’s a civil war and America should not be policing a Sunni-Shia conflict. In addition, we don’t have the additional forces to put in there. We obviously want to support what commanders in the field say they need, but apparently even the Joint Chiefs do not support increased combat forces for Baghdad. My position on Iraq is simple:

1. I believe we should start redeploying troops in 4 to 6 months (The Levin-Reed Plan) and complete the withdrawal of combat forces by the first quarter of 2008. (As laid out by the Iraq Study Group)

2. The President must understand that there can only be a political solution in Iraq, and he must end our nation’s open-ended military commitment to that country.

3. These priorities need to be coupled with a renewed diplomatic effort and regional strategy.

I do not support an escalation of the conflict. I support finding a way to bring our troops home and would look at any plan that gave a roadmap to this goal.

It’s been two weeks since the Iraq Study Group released its plan to change the course and bring our troops home. Since then, the President has been on a fact finding tour of his own administration — apparently ignoring the facts presented by those in the military who know best. The President needs to put forth a plan as soon as possible, one that reflects the reality on the ground in Iraq and that withdraws our troops from the middle of this deadly civil war.

Pam on December 19, 2006 at 10:08 PM

Harry Reid is full of sh*t. So is Murtha, Pelosi, Durban and the rest. They are leading the USA on a path of destruction while at the same time openly resisting building up the Armed Forces. IMHO, their plan is disasterous, if not treasonous.

The Armed Forces SHOULD be increased, all of them, not just the Army and the Marines, as it IS dangerously undersized for today’s world. The size of the military after Bush 41’s cuts would have been adequate in the post-Cold War era. But what really hurt the national defense was CLINTON’s additional cuts (approximately 40% more) on top of Bush 41’s.

We went from a nearly 600 ship navy in the late 1980’s to one of 290. USAF Air Wings and Army divisions were cut by about 40%.

And it didn’t stop when Clinton left office. What we now have, is going to be cut even further under Bush 43 unless turned around.

Bush 43’s previously envisioned ship building program budget cuts, if enacted, will delay CVN 21’s construction start by at least a year, resulting in only 10 CBG’s deployable after 2014, reduce the acquisition of new destroyers and submarines in half. The Air Force will be buying at least 100 less F/A 22’s and will be delaying the F/A 35 program.

To turn it around and regain most of the capability lost since Clinton entered office, will be expensive and cannot be done over night.

To increase the Army, and Marines, Navy, and USAF personnel, some closed bases will have to be reopened, if possible, or new bases acquired and built. All at a major cost. Equipment in mothballs will have to be readied, new ships and vehicles (including the now closed Humvee production line) will have to be constructed.

Even without completely “reversing” the Clinton era cuts, the total budget outlay will almost certainly exceed the dollars “saved” by the 1993 and out-year DOD budget cuts.

Robert Kaplan, in his book “Imperial Grunts” envisions an Army and Marine Corps deployed not in Corps or Divisions, but in battalions and regiments to those places where America needs to fight, using new strategies and tactics. But they WILL need the firepower on call from aircraft and warships. They will need aircraft overhead carrying ordinance and the ability to control the battlespace overhead. Without the “infrastructure” of a robust and capable DoD, we can’t win against the Islamofascists.

So it is going to take more than a few new Army and Marine Infantry divisions.

georgej on December 20, 2006 at 1:01 AM

I find the pretext of this discussion all wrong.
First, we are completely able to win the “war”. That is if we are willing to do everything it would take to win it. Winning is obviously not the question now. To win, we would have to destroy the country or something close to it. Such as WWII. So, winning seems to be off the table now. Our enemies are going to simply wait us out. We leave, they move it, we will probably have to return to finish the job.

hoosierken on December 20, 2006 at 8:34 AM

Well, he better do it quick. The General Officer @holes in The Puzzle Palace want their next star…they NEVER tell the likes of Rummy the TRUTH…..What a JOKE.

seejanemom on December 20, 2006 at 8:58 AM

We need to remove the insane rules of engagement. Our troops should not be worried about trying to figure out if someone is trying to shoot them, or if they are trying to kill the whole unit.

For the love of Mike, if it shoots at you… kill it.

Social Darwinism – elimination of the stupid.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on December 20, 2006 at 9:28 AM

Watching Bush is starting to remind me of watching those kids who were being mainstreamed back in grade school as they would struggle to read or recite something. Makes me squirm. Flailing about is never pretty.

honora on December 20, 2006 at 12:48 PM

We need to remove the insane rules of engagement. Our troops should not be worried about trying to figure out if someone is trying to shoot them, or if they are trying to kill the whole unit.

For the love of Mike, if it shoots at you… kill it.

Social Darwinism – elimination of the stupid.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on December 20, 2006 at 9:28 AM

Our troops aren’t shooting back when attacked? Are you certain of this?

honora on December 20, 2006 at 12:49 PM

georgej’s comment above is highly informed and illustrative of the problems and questions that we face. Rebuilding an augmenting the military – all branches, not just the ground forces – is going to be a massive undertaking that’s years in the making.

I believe that it was Ronald Reagan who observed, “We cannot pretend to be ‘innocents abroad’ in a world that is not innocent.'” Yet with the “peace dividend” overboard cutbacks of the military in the 1990s, along with the “procurement holiday” and the “vacation from history” that also reflected the political mindset of that decade, we ignored Reagan’s warning.

Witness the result: given what’s happening in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria and Venezuela – did I leave anyplace out? – it’s hard not to conclude that the “vacation” is over.

And just like in 1940, when before the gathering storm of totalitarian advances worldwide we had to undergo a crash rearmament program, we’re going to have to pay back the “peace dividend.” With interest.

It’s good that the current administration is finally coming around to this realization, although unfortunate that they waited so long to do so. Right after 9/11, when the country clearly understood that we are at war, when the American public would’ve readily supported such a massive undertaking – and when the president had “political capital” to burn and a congressional majority to help him burn it – we failed to seize the moment.

It’s going to be a lot harder to accomplish now.

But as a short-term stopgap, how about if we gain “more troops” by taking a hard look at some of the places where they are right now?

Do we really need scores of thousands of troops in Europe to defend NATO against … who, exactly? And just how grateful are the Europeans these days for the “protection?”

Can the South Koreans and Japanese, with their large economies, afford to defend themselves without the presence of scores of thousands of more American troops?

I’m all for increasing the military; but it won’t happen overnight. Until then, why don’t we make the most efficient use of what we have?

Spurius Ligustinus on December 20, 2006 at 1:59 PM

Interesting there’s all this deep soul searching going on now. Talk about shutting the barn door after the cow has gone.

Lots of good, sound thinking–all a good thing. But…… Precious little of which addresses our specific elephant in the room–what to do about Iraq right now.

honora on December 20, 2006 at 3:21 PM

As for Iraq itself, to surge or not to surge? WaPo claims the Joint Chiefs are unanimously against the idea, which leaves them improbably aligned with the left…

AP, you aren’t the slanderous type. I know you include comments like that for effect, but please tell me it is tongue in cheek.

The reason the uniformed higer-ups don’t favor a surge is because they realize that no matter how it’s proposed, the actual orders will include ROE restrictions which will make the risk/reward balance unfavorable. They are for winning, but they won’t favor a half-hearted charge because it costs too many lives.

Overwhelming force in wartime SAVES LIVES. Once you know placement, defenses, structure, and routines of your enemy you can do what you want to him. We are still somewhat short of attaining that goal, and as tightly integrated with civilians as the insurgent strongholds are, surging means high collateral deaths. My opinion is that it would still be justifiable, because the insurgents are killing dozens of those people daily as it is, but as a tactic it wouldn’t pass the PC filter without our soldiers being shackled to near impossible standards of when to fire and when not to fire.

My belief is that the JCs are considering precisely this when they choose not to support a surge concept at this time. That doesn’t exactly “align them with the left”. I’m aware that on appearance only it seems so, but context is everything.

Freelancer on December 20, 2006 at 4:09 PM

If anybody’s interested in helping wounded Soldiers and Marines get a custom house, built to their needs, checkout –

http://www.homesforourtroops.org

Thank you Glenn Beck.

Tony737 on December 20, 2006 at 9:25 PM