The top US commander in Iraq has requested another Army brigade, on top of five already on the way, as part of the controversial "surge" of American troops designed to clamp down on sectarian violence and insurgent groups, senior Pentagon officials said today.
The appeal -- not yet made public -- by Gen. David Petraeus for a combat aviation unit would involve between 2,500 and 3,000 more soldiers and dozens of transport helicopters and powerful gunships, said the Pentagon sources. That would bring the planned expansion of US forces so far to close to 30,000 troops.
News of the additional deployment comes about a week after President Bush announced that about 4,700 support troops will join the initial 21,500 he ordered in January. They are in addition to the estimated 130,000 troops already in Iraq.
"This is the next shoe to drop," said one senior Pentagon official closely involved in the war planning. "But you cannot put five combat brigades in there and not have more aviation guys, military police, and intelligence units."
As much as I hate the Stupid Pointless War, I can't say I blame Petraeus. He has a job to do, and he wants to succeed. After all, Petraeus has previously said the surge only has a one-in-four chance of success. If this surge within a surge helps to improve the odds, all the better for Petraeus and his mission.
Let's be clear, all Americans will be winners if Petraeus can salvage a win in Iraq. The problem is, what will a win look like? Will we even know that a win has occurred when we see it? If we look back to the stupid BushCo and Neocon pronouncements of TOTAL VICTORY IN IRAQ, then a win is nowhere in sight.
The goal posts have been moved in, moved in again, lowered, widened, and moved in some more. What would a win look like today? 80 weekly attacks instead of 800 to 1,000?
Its a tough situation. BushCo has declared victory or bust. Many dems have have the right instincts, but are typically disorganized. The reeps are rallying around the policy, if not the president. The result is the surge, and no realistic option of a pull out (at least for now, until the latest horrific atrocity occurs).
So we look forward to additional surges within the surge. My big question is how far can we pull the rubber band back before it snaps?