President Bush will announce some cutbacks to pre-surge levels of U.S. troops in Iraq in his address to the nation. But the reality is that with the huge strains on the all-volunteer army, there was never any way in which the surge of 30,000 U.S. troops could have been sustained for more than only a few months.
While the administration will try to spin this as some form of "progress" with the war in Iraq, the truth is the violence is only likely to resurface in any areas in which American forces withdrawal or become less active as Iraqi military and police forces are simply not yet up to the task or even contribute to the sectarian violence themselves. The British recently claimed a sort of "political victory" in the Southern Basra area of Iraq, only to largely withdrawal, allowing rival Shiite militia groups to battle with one another and increase the violence in this area. Is this really progress against stemming the violence in Iraq and restoring the nation back to pre2003 war conditions?
But all of this only seems to characterize the Bush Administration's hackneyed approach to Iraq. From the very beginning, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld never really planned for a long term military mission in Iraq, sending in a far smaller military force than really required to secure ammo dumps and to quiet down violence and resistance. Inadequate military hardware such as lightly protected HumVees became an easy target for insurgents. American soldiers tied sandbags and old pieces of wood that they could find to their vehicles in a desperate attempt to provide some life or death makeshift "armor" protection.
In the WWII American assault on the little island of Iwo Jima, it took an American force of 110,000 troops to suppress a Japanese force of only 21,000. In Vietnam an American force in excess of 600,000 troops failed to end the violence in a country of about 18 million. The 130,000 American troops in Iraq to control the violence in a land of 27.5 million, with some militia groups comprising between 10,000 to 100,000 members per organization, is far too small to prevent sectarian violence or provide border security and a flow of arms and fighters from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other states in the region. It would have taken an American force of over 1,000,000 troops and a return to the draft to really secure Iraq if the Bush Administration really considered it to be all that important to the U.S. interests. If Iraq was really that central to the "War On Terror" as the Bush Administration has repeatedly claimed then you would have expected far better occupation planning that this.
The British occupation of Iraq which had miserably failed that ran from 1922-1958 should have made it clear to the Bush Administration that any occupation of Iraq and the prevention of insurgent violence would certainly fail unless a huge and well equipped American force was sent in. Instead the lightly armed and inadequate American forces were doomed to fail from the very beginning due to this lack of planning, inadequate troop strength and poor military supplies.
From the very beginning, the Bush Administration never had a good plan to secure Iraq once the government of Saddam Hussein was overthrown. They never had a serious plan for "victory"... ever. But you can expect Bush to proclaim "political victory" as the violence in Iraq only continues and about 130,000 American troops will remain locked in a losing situation that the next president will be forced to deal with as the Bush Administration attempts to "run out the clock" and leave the whole Iraq mess up to the next president.
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