Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Troop Levels in Iraq

Instapundit posts a selection from a Kevin Drum article, stating essentially that we have as many troops in Iraq as we can, considering the overall size of the Army and our global commitments. Quote: "Realistically, then, the maximum number of troops available for use in Iraq is probably pretty close to the number we have now: 300,000 rotated annually, for a presence of about 150,000 at any given time." In order to increase appreciably the troop levels would require a few more divisions, something that Democrats would never have approved, despite their hand-wringing today about "too few troops." Glenn Reynolds' own analysis is spot on:

We clearly had plenty of troops to beat Saddam's army, and, as I say, it's not clear that more troops are the answer now -- read this post by David Adesnik for more on pre-invasion planning and post-invasion execution and you'll see that troop numbers aren't the big issue, and that critics seem mostly to be engaging in hindsight today. I think that calling for 'more troops' is a way to criticize while not sounding weak, and that it thus has an appeal that overcomes its uncertain factual foundation.

The only legitimate argument would be that we should have placed up to 300,000 troops into Iraq, and then kept them there for the duration, since there would be no one available to relieve them.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for linking to this post; my first Instalanch! For those new readers, welcome to my blog. Check out my previous post on this subject.

ANOTHER UPDATE: This article by Frank Gaffney indicates that we might have the same problem in the future with Naval and Air Forces, and a real one. While troop levels might not be decisive in Iraq, lack of Carrier Strike Groups and Air Wings could really hurt in a future conflict with a power like China. Personally, I'd rather have more Joint Strike Fighters and fewer, if any, F-22's, but lack of either is no solution.

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