I totally agree that Bush should restore the Army to at least 15 active combat divisions. Whether Bush and his advisors want to believe it, the current military is just too small for the missions in Iraq and elsewhere. There is simply no way the US could fight and win two large conflicts at the same time with the current force levels. In 1991, the Army had 17 combat divisions and now it has just ten.
As for more troops, it’s been apparent since the Fall of 2003 that we have not had enough troops in Baghdad or even in Iraq for that matter. As obvious as the notion of more troops to the capital city seems, I feel almost certain that it won’t happen. Quite frankly, Bush seems paralyzed by the current predicament. Rather than offer a bold plan for victory, he utters nothing but the stale phrase, “Stay the course” or “we’re not leaving so long as I’m president”.
I hate to say it, but it may already be too late to achieve victory. Last week, a Washington Post article described three options given by the Joint Chiefs. Rather than “go big”, Bush seems ready to choose “go long”. Just yesterday, several stories implied that the 30,000 Marines in al Anbar are ready to pull out and in effect concede defeat. Even worse, news today suggests the Iraq Study group will propose a phased withdrawal of American forces regardless of the military conditions.
I think the only way Bush can save the mission is to send more troops to the country. First, they must pacify Baghdad and then they can work their way out. With more troops, this can be done in six months. If Bush doesn’t act decisively, I fear this fiasco may doom the Republican party for decades to come.