The surging myth: Not even close to 21,000

Bush announced his "plan" to "break the cycle of violence" with 21,000 new troops to be moved into Iraq last night, without proper armor. Because nothing says "breaking the cycle of violence" like heavily armed soldiers!

At present, according to Fred Kaplan, there are 70k combat troops and 60k support troops in Iraq. Slightly greater than a 50-50 split. When new troops enter a battle zone, the ratio tends to be even higher. The AEI's architect of the escalation had called for 35,000 combat troops, and not for a short time, but for the long haul... Below, Barry Lando explains the metrics of 20,000... -- ed.

Because the issue of "surging" is now in the crosshairs, I take the liberty of reposting-in slightly modified form-a piece I sent out December 18th and apologize in advance to any readers who might feel unduly harrassed.

The idea that shipping twenty thousand more American troops to Iraq can make any real difference to what is already a full scale civil war is risible. Congress and others debating the issue should consider some painful military statistics: first of all, according to the Pentagon's own figures, every front line soldier requires at least three other military types to back him up: engineers, electricians, medics, bookkeepers, etc. Which means that 20,000 more troops to Iraq works out to only about 5,000 additional American trainers or soldiers actually pulling the triggers.

There's another jolting irony...

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