General David Petraeus has two additional brigades on the ground in Iraq now, three more are on the way and anywhere from 4500 to 4700 support troops are being added to the initial 21,500 troop escalation initiated by the Bush administration. And, Petraeus is not happy. He wants another brigade on top of it all.
The top US commander in Iraq has requested another Army brigade, in addition to five already on the way, as part of the controversial "surge" of American troops designed to clamp down on sectarian violence and insurgent groups, senior Pentagon officials said yesterday. The appeal -- not yet made public -- by General David Petraeus for a combat aviation unit would involve between 2,500 and 3,000 more soldiers and dozens of transport helicopters and powerful gunships, said the Pentagon sources. That would bring the planned expansion of US forces to close to 30,000 troops.OK. You have to go here so you know that people were saying this was going to happen.
News of the additional deployment comes about a week after President Bush announced that about 4,700 support troops will join the initial 21,500 he ordered in January. They are in addition to the estimated 130,000 troops already in Iraq.
"This is the next shoe to drop," said one senior Pentagon official closely involved in the war planning, who requested anonymity because of prohibitions against publicly discussing internal deliberations. "But you cannot put five combat brigades in there and not have more aviation guys, military police, and intelligence units."
Now, I don't doubt Petraeus, much more than Bush, probably knows what's required to achieve success in Iraq. I'll bet you, if you could get Petraeus alone and off the record, with no chance of his words ever drifting back to the Pentagon, and you asked him how many brigades it would really take to end the insurgency in Iraq his answer would be: Ten more, and I still couldn't guarantee a permanent solution to the problem.