September 21, 2004

Novak's Bad Iraqi Troop Math

Robert Novak's missing an important option in his recent analysis of the next president's Iraq options. The key paragraph follows:

Whether Bush or Kerry is elected, the president or president-elect will have to sit down immediately with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The military will tell the election winner there are insufficient U.S. forces in Iraq to wage effective war. That leaves three realistic options: Increase overall U.S. military strength to reinforce Iraq, stay with the present strength to continue the war, or get out.

The effective military strength in Iraq increases day to day and week to week as more Iraqi troops come on line and gain experience fighting the present foreign supported insurgency. This means that staying at present strength (from a combat perspective) would require constant troop withdrawals to balance out the increases in Iraqi troop strength (these increases coming both as new units come out of training and as green troops gain experience).

Even if Novak's assertion is correct that we cannot fight an effective war at current troop strength, it is insufficient to justify bugging out early. In fact it would be a horrible betrayal to leave before sufficient Iraqi forces exist to secure a free Iraq. All we need do is to maintain our strength in country and simply use the positive trend line of more and more good guy forces to turn the tide and beat the insurgency. Novak's entire story makes no sense unless he's either ignoring Iraqi troops as effective combat forces or ignoring the increases in troop strength that are constantly coming on line. In either case, it's bad military math for Novak.

Posted by TMLutas at September 21, 2004 09:46 PM