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February 01, 2007

Super-Size Your Surge? Troop Surge Numbers Could Double

I'm sure that if they do double into the vicinity of 48,000, Andrew Sullivan will suddenly support it, right? After all, he claims he's always had the specific target of 50,000 new troops in mind -- or is going to quibble over 2000?

Apparently the larger number is closer to the real one, at least according to this story. Bush's "21,500" is the number of pure combat forces, whereas the larger figure -- up to 48,000 -- includes the support troops that of course must be deployed to support primary warfighters.

The howls from the left will be, well, screechy and girlish as usual. Bush lied!

Well, I prefer to look at it as underpromise, overdeliver.

President Bush and his new military chiefs have been saying for nearly a month that they would "surge" an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, in a last, grand push to quell the violence in Baghdad and in Anbar Province. But a new study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the real troop increase could be as high as 48,000 -- more than double the number the President initially said.

That's because the combat units that President Bush wants to send into hostile areas need to be backed up by support troops, "including personnel to staff headquarters, serve as military police, and provide communications, contracting, engineering, intelligence, medical, and other services," the CBO notes:

Over the past few years , DoD's practice has been to deploy a total of about 9,500 personnel per combat brigade to the Iraq theater, including about 4,000 combat troops and about 5,500 supporting troops.

DoD has not yet indicated which support units will be deployed along with the added combat forces, or how many additional troops will be involved. Army and DoD officials have indicated that it will be both possible and desirable to deploy fewer additional support units than historical practice would indicate. CBO expects that, even if the additional brigades required fewer support units than historical practice suggests, those units would still represent a significant additional number of military personnel.

The article notes that the cost of the surge will likewise be higher than currently estimated by most. But then, if these guys beat Al Qaeda, well, you have to look at the massive savings from that too.

By the way -- the CBO's lowball estimate for the total number of troops, assuming below-the-usual minimum of support troops accompanying warfighters, is still 35,000.

Thanks to JackStraw.


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posted by Ace at 05:01 PM

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