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Breaking: Double the Troops in “Surge” (Updated)

President Bush and his new military chiefs have been saying for nearly a month that they would “surge” an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, in a last, grand push to quell the violence in Baghdad and in Anbar Province. But a new study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the real troop increase could be as high as 48,000 — more than double the number the President initially said.
That’s because the combat units that President Bush wants to send into hostile areas need to be backed up by support troops, “including personnel to staff headquarters, serve as military police, and provide communications, contracting, engineering, intelligence, medical, and other services,” the CBO notes.

Over the past few years , DoDs practice has been to deploy a total of about 9,500 personnel per combat brigade to the Iraq theater, including about 4,000 combat troops and about 5,500 supporting troops.
DoD has not yet indicated which support units will be deployed along with the added combat forces, or how many additional troops will be involved. Army and DoD officials have indicated that it will be both possible and desirable to deploy fewer additional support units than historical practice would indicate. CBO expects that, even if the additional brigades required fewer support units than historical practice suggests, those units would still represent a significant additional number of military personnel.
To reflect some of the uncertainty about the number of support troops, CBO developed its estimates on the basis of two alternative assumptions. In one scenario, CBO assumed that additional support troops would be deployed in the same proportion to combat troops that currently exists in Iraq. That approach would require about 28,000 support troops in addition to the 20,000 combat troopsa total of 48,000. CBO also presents an alternative scenario that would include a smaller number of support personnelabout 3,000 per combat brigadetotaling about 15,000 support personnel and bringing the total additional forces to about 35,000.

According to the study, the costs for the “surge” would also be dramatically different than the President has said. The White House estimated a troop escalation would require about $5.6 billion in additional funding for the rest of fiscal year 2007. Of that, about $3.2 billion was supposed to go to the Army and Marines for their escalated activity.
But that figure appears to have been grossly underestimated. The CBO now believes “that costs would range from $9 billion to $13 billion for a four-month deployment and from $20 billion to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment.” There’s a more detailed analysis of the numbers on pages 3 and 4 of the study, which was sent to House Budget Chairman John Spratt today.
UPDATE 1:43 PM: Here’s Spratt’s reaction, in a statement just released:

An average of 170,000 military personnel has been maintained in the Iraq theater of operations, and this high deployment level has taken a toll. Last year, CBO reported that the Department of Defense had reduced the amount of dwell time for many troops from two years to one year in order to sustain troop levels. Dwell time is the time troops spend in training at bases in the United States while living with their families. CBO questioned whether such a high pace of operations was sustainable over the long term. The Presidents proposal will increase this level to above 200,000 troops, and to reach this level, the Pentagon will probably have to relax dwell time standards even more.
CBOs report concludes that the cost of the Presidents plan to surge troops will be higher than previously indicated, both in dollar terms and in the burdens it places on our military.

UPDATE 2:06 PM: As they say on the Internet, “WTF?” Gen. George Casey, the nominee for Army chief of staff, “told a Senate panel Thursday that improving security in Baghdad would take fewer than half as many extra troops as President Bush has chosen to commit,” the AP is reporting.

Asked by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., why he had not requested the full five extra brigades that Bush is sending, Casey said, “I did not want to bring one more American soldier into Iraq than was necessary to accomplish the mission.“
With many in Congress opposing or skeptical of Bush’s troop buildup, Casey did not say he opposed the president’s decision. He said the full complement of five brigades would give U.S. commanders in Iraq additional, useful flexibility.
“In my mind, the other three brigades should be called forward after an assessment has been made on the ground” about whether they are needed to ensure success in Baghdad, Casey said. later.

Now, Casey has long been skeptical of a troop increase. “It’s a tough nut, whether or not bringing in more troops, more US troops will have a significant long term impact on the violence,” he said back in October. And just the other day, Casey was arguing that any additional boots on the ground could be removed by the summer. So this feels like we’re seeing the edges of an internal squabble between the White House and the Army brass. Or maybe between general and general.
UPDATE 02/02/07 6:36 PM: The White House is denying the CBO report.
(Big ups: JA)

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{ 112 comments… read them below or add one }

PhilLeech April 7, 2007 at 3:02 pm

Politcians are always looking for the optimistic estimates. From the looks of things right now, it appears the increase in troops was a good idea. We can’t make up for the under-strength beginning of this thing, but we sure can make a dent in it.

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Joe April 11, 2007 at 12:53 pm

You people are pathetic.
This war was provably based on lies (Downing Street Memo & Whitehouse Memo).
The Democrats haven’t done a single thing because the OIL COMPANIES AND CONTRACTORS DONATE TO BOTH PARTIES.
When can we quit clining to these bought-and-paid-for political parties and stand up as Americans?
We need to get out of this war, cut our spending budget in half, secure the borders and work on legitimate trade agreements that don’t reward corporations for taking out economy overseas.
Wake up and quit crying. THE BUSHES VACATION W? THE CLINTONS! It is always the elite vs the middle class throughout history. If you treat these policical parties (in reality a one-party system) like football teams while fighting amongst one another we will never get anywhere!
My God Man

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sam April 12, 2007 at 12:07 am

What is everyones problem? Can it not be understood that this surge and the overall direction of our military presence in iraq. We need to get out of everybodies business and go back to our policy of non intervention in foreign wars. It has been proven over and over without a doubt that our own government lied to get us into this war. Not to mention the fact its involvement in the sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Or should I say the event that allowed the patriot act to get voted into law. Our government has broken so many laws of the constitution and bill of rights that it would be hard to count them. And still they are in office. Why This constitution that they seem to think nothing about has worked for the us for a long. The politicians have enjoyed the freedom to do as they wish for entirely way to long. They are citizens just like everyone else and they should have to abide by the same laws as we all do. Some would say that it is already to the point of a police state being implemented in the us. I thought that acting now would keep our liberties only to find out that the fight would be to get back the liberties that we have already lost. Those who have sworn to protect this nation and uphold the constitution have not upheld their oath. In fact they are doing everything they can to do away with any oversight at all. This is not a good direction for the us to be going. The farther we venture down this road the harder it will be to get back on track. The NWO is not the answer. The federal reserve bank is not controlled by nor is it held accountable by any governing body. People need to start asking questions that matter. Stop assuming that all is well. Expect the worse and hope and work for the best and maybe in the end you wont be disappointed. Strive for world peace and not just for personal gain. Money is not everything-just ask the families of those soldiers that have fallen while our government stayes the course on its fight against terrorist that itself has funded and trained for years only to make more enemies for america to fight. The only ones who gain from this are the defense contractors(war machine)and the ceos that start and end conflicts to fill their own pockets. god bless america and the rest of the world thank you and have a nice day

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The End April 12, 2007 at 7:56 pm

Americans have been taught to look at wars like sporting events, cheering for OUR SIDE. Well guess what, this war is bad for most of the planet. Some oil CEOs and weapons manufacturers make a killing off of it, but thousands upon thousands of soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians are killed and maimed.
Iraqis say their problems are now WORSE than when they had Saddam to deal with! What does that tell you? Enough of this “Ra ra ra!” dumb military junk. There’s nothing noble, honorable, or brave about illegally invading someone else’s country on the pretext of lies & minsinformation.
The American military has NOTHING to be proud of, unless they’re proud of acting like little bitches and following the insane demands of King Bush. How pathetic. Every dolt in backwater American thinks he can go to Iraq and then claim himself to be some kind of “hero.” It’s not that easy. It’s more heroic to educate yourself and THINK about what you’re actually doing, instead of just acting like a trained attack dog for the liars in the White House.

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Peter Macdonald, Lee NH September 14, 2007 at 7:13 am

VA Complaint against NH VA Director Mark Levenston 9-14-07
A copy of this letter goes to Mark Levenston and Dr Dan Potenza
Peter Macdonald 465 Packersfalls rd Lee NH 03824
A crime against the United States has been committed here. A 100% service connected disabled veteran

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Peter Macdonald, Lee NH September 14, 2007 at 7:14 am

VA Complaint against NH VA Director Mark Levenston 9-14-07
A copy of this letter goes to Mark Levenston and Dr Dan Potenza
Peter Macdonald 465 Packersfalls rd Lee NH 03824
A crime against the United States has been committed here. A 100% service connected disabled veteran

Reply

????? April 22, 2008 at 1:56 am

Not neccessarily a lie. Possibly another calculated mis-direct or, nearly as bad, a basic misunderstanding by our esteemed Commander in Chief.

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? April 22, 2008 at 1:59 am

But of course!

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???? April 22, 2008 at 1:59 am

But of course!

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