The Corner

We “might” need to fill the gap in troops in Baghdad

The Hadley memo, which seems to be admirably clear-eyed, notes that Maliki might need enhanced capabilities. If we are going to help them in this area, it says, “we need to provide Maliki with additional forces of some kind.” He goes on to say “we might also need to fill the current four-brigade gap in Baghdad with coalition forces if reliable Iraqi forces are not identified.” And, therefore recommends, “Ask Secretary of Defense and General Casey to make a recommendation about whether more forces are need in Baghdad.” The old answer would be that Casey would say we don’t need more American troops, we need more Iraqi troops, and then the secretary of defense would say, “You see, the generals aren’t asking for more troops,” and that would be the end of it. I hope there’s a different outcome this time. We need not just to fill the gap in the old, failing Baghdad security plan, but come up with a new plan with the proper number of troops to execute it.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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