Posted by Wordsmith on 11 January, 2007 at 10:21 am. 2 comments already!


John Amato at points to this Financial Times article as proof that General Petraeus believes a troop surge of 2o,ooo is insufficient to get the job done. First off, it’s not clear to me that General Petraeus states this. It appears to me to be the analysis of Kenneth Pollack and those at the Brookings Institution. Not Petraeus.   Dean Barnett says,

The surge strength number comes from Dave Petraeus’ estimate of what will be necessary to win Baghdad. Petraeus is breaking Baghdad into nine neighborhoods. Each neighborhood will get a contingent of 2500 Iraqi soldiers (probably ones trained by Petraeus) supported by 600 American troops. This number, the plan figures, will be sufficient to clear the neighborhoods and then hold them. In previous encounters, we would clear and retreat. This is a very significant difference. The total surge into Baghdad, counting Iraqi troops, will be well over 40,000.

And Amato cites this as the moneyquote:

The report says the ideal ratio of troops to population in a counter-insurgency operation is 20 per 1,000. This would imply the US would need to add at least 250,000 to its existing force of 140,000 – a logistical and political impossibility. Iraq’s population is 26m.

The problem here, is that the entire country of Iraq doesn’t need pacification. The violence is concentrated in Baghdad and the Anbar Province. The President made clear last night in his speech, that the majority of the 21,500 troop surge will be sent into Baghdad:

The vast majority of them — five brigades — will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs.

 According to Dean Barnett, the number is 13,000 in Baghdad, making this a 150% increase in troop level.

About 4,000 Marines will be sent into Anbar Province to pacify Sunni insurgents.

Surge on!

 *UPDATE* 01/12/07– Steve from ThreatWatch provides this in regards to my question of current troop numbers in Baghdad:

From page 20 of the Kagan report ("Choosing Victory"), page 20:

The current deployment of U.S. forces in and around Baghdad, therefore, provides approximately four BCTs (twelve battalions or about 20,000 troops in all) for conducting combat operations in the city. The equivalent of one BCT is required for base security. Such a force level is evidently inadequate for clearing and holding any sizable portion of Baghdad.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x