President Bush finally decided to send more troops to Iraq, notably to the troubled city of Baghdad. He has finally realized that the insurgency cannot be defeated by a “light U.S military footprint” as, Gens.Abizaid and Casey liked to put it, but the real solution is a combination of overwhelming force and diplomatic negotiations. The recent 21000 troop deployment to iraq may solve the problem for a short period of time, it may crush the insurgency in the capitol city of Baghdad and retake control of the Anbar province. But is that all the President could do? Are 21000 combat troops enough for a country of over 2000000? The Washington Post recently proclaimed: "The United StatesIraq would need at least 500,000 and perhaps more than 1 million troops" to bring order to the country. and its allies in House majority leader Steny Hoyer declared: "As a practical matter, there are no troops to increase with." Neither of these statements is true.
In one of his recent pieces in the Weekly Standard, Frederick W. Kagan sees things differently. Kagan notes: “A study of post-conflict operations in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and elsewhere conducted by Ambassador James Dobbins showed that success in those operations--characterized by severe ethnic and sectarian violence--required force ratios of 1 soldier per 100 inhabitants. Iraq poses challenges that are in some respects more severe, at the moment, but it also offers its own rules-of-thumb. Successful clear-and-hold operations in Tal Afar required a force ratio of around 1 soldier (counting both U.S. and Iraqi troops) for every 40 inhabitants. On the other hand, in 2004 Major General Peter Chiarelli suppressed a widespread uprising in Sadr City (an area inhabited by about 2.5 million Shiites) with fewer than 20,000 U.S. soldiers--a ratio of about 1 to 125.”
He argues that “The U.S. command repeatedly and correctly points out that about 80 percent of the violence in Iraq occurs within a 35-mile radius of Baghdad, among a population of perhaps 10 million. Baghdad itself has roughly 6.5 million inhabitants, including the 2.5 million Shiites in Sadr City. These figures provide the basis for a more realistic estimate of the force levels needed. Applying the high-end ratio used in Tal Afar over the entire metropolitan Baghdad area would generate a requirement of 250,000 troops--both U.S. and Iraqi. There are currently about 100,000 Iraqi army troops that the U.S. command considers trained and ready. There are almost 150,000 American troops in Iraq now, including perhaps 70,000 combat troops. Conducting Tal Afar-type operations across the entire capital region all at once would require concentrating all available forces in the area and a "surge" of about 80,000 U.S. soldiers--a large number, to be sure, but very far from the "hundreds of thousands" or even "millions" generated by the use of specious historical examples.” He correctly points out that the U.S can and must send more troops to Iraq in order to stabilize the capitol and crush the insurgency. “n truth, we could send more. As of October 1, there were approximately 81,000 active Army soldiers in Iraq, 21,500 active duty Marines, 15,600 Army National Guard, and a little more than 7,000 Army and Marine Reserves--in all about 125,000 troops (13,000 sailors and airmen and a number of other reserves brought the total up to 139,500). Since then, another 8,000-9,000 soldiers and Marines, mostly active duty, have also been committed to the theater. There are another 24,000 members of all services now in Afghanistan as well.”
The U.S has 2.4 million atvice, reserve and gurad members . The President must look at all his options first before sending only a small 21000 man force to Iraq. President Bush must send an overwhelming unbmer of troops to Iraq and consider the possibility of entering direct negotiations with Iran and Syria. Yet he must conduct such negations from a position of strength, that is after reducing the level of violence in Iraq and gaining control over Baghdad.