Monday, February 25, 2008

Surge in general

When is a surge not a surge? The Pentagon will be demonstrating this perhaps as early as July, and may in fact demonstrating it right now as the date for a planned drawdown of troops in Iraq approaches. Army Lt. Gen. Carter Ham said today that even after troops deployed in January 2007 for the President Bush-ordered increase in anti-insurgency forces are withdrawn, the U.S. deployment will be 8,000 soldiers more than when the surge started. Ham said the United States expects to have 140,000 troops in Iraq after the drawdown, compared with 158,000 now, according to the Reuters international news service. There were 132,000 soldiers in Iraq when the surge began, Reuters said. The increase in soldiers has been credited with a sharp reduction in violence against soldiers and civilians in Baghdad and other areas of Iraq. The strategy has been so successful, the military says, that it is planning a similar, although smaller, troop increase in Aghanistan. "There is an opportunity now to take advantage of the security that has been established by the five surge brigades and you want to sustain that and not jeopardize the gains that have been achieved," Ham said. But Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), speaker of the House of Representatives, said the surge was turning out not to be a temporary measure as initially portrayed by the White House. "As we approach the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, Americans continue to demand a new direction in Iraq and reject a continuation of the president's plan for a 10-year, trillion-dollar war in Iraq," Pelosi said Monday.

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