Monday, November 20, 2006
By Steven L. Taylor

Via WaPo: Pentagon May Suggest Short-Term Buildup Leading to Iraq Exit

The Pentagon’s closely guarded review of how to improve the situation in Iraq has outlined three basic options: Send in more troops, shrink the force but stay longer, or pull out, according to senior defense officials.

Insiders have dubbed the options “Go Big,” “Go Long” and “Go Home.”

To which I say: no kidding. The complex question is, what those things would look like. If we send more troops, what would be their mission? If we drawdown, would there be a strategic purpose? If we pull out, how and when and what would be the consequences?

One presumes that that report has greater elaboration on each point. The report is based on anonymous sources.

It would seem that “Go Big” has been rejected, which seems wise given the political climate domestically and the fact that at this point I think we long ago passed window in which we could have brought order to the situation via force.

“Go Home” has been rejected, according to the story, as it is seen as leading to full scale civil war.

Hence, “Go Long” appears to be the preferred option:

The group has devised a hybrid plan that combines part of the first option with the second one — “Go Long” — and calls for cutting the U.S. combat presence in favor of a long-term expansion of the training and advisory efforts. Under this mixture of options, which is gaining favor inside the military, the U.S. presence in Iraq, currently about 140,000 troops, would be boosted by 20,000 to 30,000 for a short period, the officials said.

The thing about that is one wonders why enhanced training hasn’t been undertaken before now: it has been clear that there were problems with the training for years. Of course, I recall the insistence of the SecDef that we were on track in that area, despite many public objections from skeptics. Is this yet another case of where Rumsfeld’s tendency to have an overly optimistic view of the situation and to engage in denial in the face of criticism yet again rears its ugly head? So it would seem.

It also seems that the “Go Long” strategy may end up being the flavor of the month from more than one source:

the hybrid version of “Go Long” may be remarkably close to the recommendation that the Iraq Study Group, led by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former representative Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.). That group’s findings, expected to be issued next month, are said to focus on changing the emphasis of U.S. military operations from combating the insurgency to training Iraqis, and also to find ways to increase security in Baghdad and bring neighboring countries into talks about stabilizing Iraq.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (4)|
The views expressed in the comments are the sole responsibility of the person leaving those comments. They do not reflect the opinion of the author of PoliBlog, nor have they been vetted by the author.

4 Responses to “The Pentagon’s Three Options”

  1. Jan Says:

    and also to find ways to increase security in Baghdad and bring neighboring countries into talks about stabilizing Iraq.

    I saw John Edwards on David Letterman the other night, and he said the only way we were going to get Iraq’s neighbors in on the stabilization process was for us to get out. Do you think that is an acurate assumption or just political talk?

  2. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    I think we would’ve had better luck a while back.

    On balance these aren’t states which would be prone to cooperate in the first place, so it is hard to judge.

    I fear that if we quickly withdraw it won’t so much lead to neighbors contributing to stabilization as it will contribute to neighbors exploiting the situation.

  3. Wake up America Says:

    Go Big, Go Long or Go Home

    There are many that refuse to even consider the possibility that we CAN stabilize Iraq and it does look difficult, but we are no strangers to difficulty. The alternate option of cutting and running and sitting back to wait for our enemies, emboldened…

  4. Matthew Says:

    Like many attempts to split the difference, “Go Long” is not going to work. The idea that the Iraqi forces just need better “advice” and “training” ignores the underlying problems of sectarian division.

    So, that leaves “Go Big.” Democrats did not take over Congress to sit and watch “esalation” be used against them in 2008.

    That would seem to leave Go Home.

blog advertising is good for you

Visitors Since 2/15/03

Wikio - Top of the Blogs - Politics



Powered by WordPress