Wednesday, October 18, 2006

# Posted 11:24 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

McCAIN IGNORES POLLS, WON'T FLINCH ON IRAQ: Talk about saying exactly the opposite of what the polls tell you. Here's the relevant press release from McCain's office (with a hat tip to PH):
Washington D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement in support of General Peter J. Schoomaker’s announcement on the Army’s long-term plans for Iraq:

“Today, Army Chief of Staff, General Peter J. Schoomaker announced that the Army has plans to keep the current level of soldiers in Iraq through 2010. Currently there are 141,000 troops in Iraq, including 120,000 soldiers. Earlier this year we heard reports that the Army would begin reducing the number of troops in Iraq to 100,000 by the end of the year. I support General Schoomaker's comments and believe we must increase troop strength if we are to win this war,” McCain said.

“The announcement also reveals how imperative it is to begin immediately to increase the end strength of the Army and Marine Corps. We are overstretched at a time of widespread and very serious challenges. Congress has authorized increases in recent years that the Defense Department has not acted upon with the urgency Congress intended, and events so clearly warrant.

“Senior officers from National Guard units and Reserve Centers across the Nation report the signs of strain on National Guardsmen and Reservists as they prepare for additional deployments to Iraq. Soldiers and Marines are reporting for their third tours in Iraq. We must begin now to increase substantially the troop strength of the Army and Marine Corps by at least 100,000.”
There's no question we need a major expansion of the Army and Marine Corps' end strength. I'm just still getting my head around the notion of keeping 140,000 troops in Iraq until 2010. A seven-year occupation. Four more years of bitter debate about the war. And can McCain win in 2008 with that approach to the war? Well, it certainly is straight talk.
(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

McCAIN IGNORES POLLS and is not currently running for re-election in AZ.
"There's no question we need a major expansion of the Army and Marine Corps' end strength."

Doubt it will happen, as I suspect the DoD has no faith that in a few years the next president won't pull the rug out from under them, again! (See the Reagan buildups, Bush I troop cuts.)

Such an expansion would likely not come with the money for training, equipping, housing, and providing benefits for the new troops over the long-term (love that one year budget cycle-yeah!). So money would have to come out of current funds--but congress will be sure the DoD doesn't cut the weapon developed in their districts!!

In short, not worth the pain, hassle, and very potential budgetary and morale train-wreck down the road. Yup, it sucks, but you go to war with the political system you have.
Polls I've been seeing from Iraq show that Iraqis consider everything worth it. They are grateful to the US for what we've done for them. However, they are concerned that the US is not planning on leaving and their gratitude may well run out if they see us as settling in for the long term.

I think it's important to make the development of Iraqi police and army our top priority. Get them in a position to fight the insurgency themselves and gradually reduce our own presence. It's ok to take years to finish leaving, but we need to start leaving fairly soon.
We tore up the potato fields of West Germany for dozens of years. What's wrong with marking up the desert for a generation or so?
Either realign resources or create another two divisions (how many brigades is that).
Divisions contain four Brigade Combat Teams and the BCTs come in 3 major flavors: Infantry, Heavy, and Stryker. You also need to remember the supporting brigades. Some are organic to the divisions like Sustainment Brigades.

Others are seperate and more specialized like the seperate Military Intelligence brigades, Military Police brigades, and so on...

I think we need more doorkickers (combat brigades) and more speciality seperate brigades like Engineers and Military Police.

I don't think we need any more division and corps level staffs.

We also need to have a better focus on the creation, training, equipping, and support of the teams training the Iraqi and Afghani militaries and police forces.

While I think we need a bigger Army and Marine Corps, I don't think that the increase in manpower should come at the cost of transformation and modernization.
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