Monday, August 01, 2005

Declaring Victory?

According to this Newsweek article, Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and "the Pentagon [have] developed a detailed plan in recent months to scale down the U.S. troop presence in Iraq to about 80,000 by mid-2006 and down to 40,000 to 60,000 troops by the end of that year". Guess what's wrong with this picture. The Iraqi Army and police force have been widely criticized as unprepared to take over security duties. Given the grim picture of a well-entrenched and dedicated insurgency and the threat from extremist-controlled militias, how is it possible to withdraw troops and maintain some security? It isn't. The problem is the U.S. has no other option. A few months ago, the Pentagon announced they would draw down most of the reservist and guard units by the end of this year due to a mandated two year limit on deployment. These units comprise about 40,000 soldiers. The Army said they would reshuffle their regular active-duty units to make up the shortfall. That's a good way to grind the troops into the ground by forcing one tour-of-duty after another after another. As it is, some Army soldiers are on their third tour of duty with some Marines on their fourth. Attentive readers may have noticed that recruitment is in the toilet. At the current rate, the Army will be 7,000 recruits short of their goal by September. That isn't even taking into account the likelihood that many of those recruits will not make it through basic training. The military has dramatically reduced their standards which means more recruits will have questionable arrest records, drug and alcohol problems, lack of education, mental health issues, etc. What will happen when the U.S. soldiers start to leave? If the U.S. tries to occupy the whole of Iraq with fewer soldiers, there will be a dramatic increase in military and civilian casualties. If the soldiers withdraw to the military bases and only protect the oil fields, the rest of Iraq will fragment and explode in genocide, disease, starvation and civil war. I'm sure that the Bush Admin will try to spin the withdrawal in the most positive way but will the public believe it?


Blogger Jeff Huber said...

And so the empire tumbles.


8/02/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Tarantula Lady said...

Several years ago, I read a book called The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy. The author said that empires maintain their grip on power by carefully exerting as little military force as possible, thus conserving their resources.

Neocons must be illiterate.


8/02/2005 07:29:00 PM  

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