Saturday, June 23, 2007

Shinseki Was Right

Even as discussion continues over whether the "surge" of troops in Iraq will succeed, a central truth is overlooked: General Shinseki was right.

In 2003, before the invasion of Iraq, General Eric Shinseki testified before Congress and was asked about the troop levels needed to maintain order in Iraq after an invasion, and he replied that "several hundred thousand" troops would be needed.

This estimate was immediately ridiculed by (among others) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. But Shinseki's estimate was not based on the same kind of wishful thinking (or denial of reality) that dominated Rumsfeld's administration, but was based on military history. And, as it turned out, he was right. The troop levels planned for post-invasion Iraq were not sufficient.

And Shinseki is still right. Adding 20,000 troops in a "surge" does not produce the "several hundred thousand" needed to maintain security in Iraq. Talk about tactics and strategies can't overcome the fact that there simply aren't enough troops there, and there never have been and never will be.

Only when the Bush administration understands that reality will there be any hope for progress in Iraq.

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