Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor points out in a commentary in UPI that President
Bush’s “surge” of US troops in Iraq will have consequences: none of them
what any American would want in the long term. The president is
persisting, however, and hopes to achieve short term, serve serving
advantages. Meanwhile, the Democrats will claim they are doing something
about it, but the claim will be more important to them than any results, and the
Pentagon generals who have entrenched
in defeat will be able to point the finger elsewhere. In the midst of
this debacle, only
January 11, 2007
By Douglas Macgregor
condition worsens with each passing day. Corruption and violence infect every
sphere of daily life. Drug trafficking is on the rise and more than a million and
a half Iraqi Arabs reside as refugees inside neighboring states.
Simultaneously, the cost of
's military occupation will soon reach $1 trillion; and this in the context of a
fragile American economy where 65% of the working population lives paycheck to
paycheck, where nearly 50 million have no health insurance, and where major
problems in both the housing and automobile industries may well herald a
Worse, the hostility of the Arab population combined with the loss of 25,000
American dead and wounded during three years' of occupation provides little
evidence the commanding generals in CENTCOM know how to effectively employ the 140,000
troops already in Iraq.
Seemingly oblivious to the disaster, the President is resolved to commit more
troops to the occupation of
while pressing for increases in the nation's badly stretched army and Marine
ground forces. The President's message seems to be that
needs larger ground forces designed to conduct unwanted military occupations of
Muslim Arab countries while crushing the resulting internal rebellions against
us that we call insurgencies.
Lawmakers like Ike Skelton from
aren't buying it. He and others are asking how the
will benefit from reinforcing the already ruinous occupation with new,
large-scale conventional combat operations? Part of the answer depends on what
these forces will do when they arrive.
If the fight is for
, one target for the additional troops is Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, the
largest Shiite militia numbering somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 fighters
depending on the estimate. Some readers will recall that Muqtada al-Sadr, the
firebrand Shiite cleric and darling of Tehran's ruling Mullahs, was previously
the target of American forces when U.S. generals promised in the spring of 2004
that Muqtada al-Sadr would be punished for his opposition to the U.S. military
occupation and U.S. sponsored Iraqi government. Like so many other claims made
generals in the last three years, this one also turned out to be erroneous.
Muqtada al-Sadr survived and thrived. Today, he is the vanguard of the
Iranian-backed forces inside
's green zone government and he would welcome a direct assault on his force.
Not only would a
attack on his militia mobilize the entire Shiite Muslim Arab population against
and further strengthen
's hand inside
, expanding the American military presence and widening the conflict would
eliminate any possible incentive for the multitude of Sunni and Shiite Arab
factions from reaching an accommodation with each other.
It's also time to get out of
before more of our talented soldiers, sergeants, lieutenants and captains vote
with their feet turning the "Army of One" into the "Army of
None." One of the biggest reasons so many junior officers leave the service
is the character, competence and intelligence of the senior military leadership
they see when they look up the chain of command. What the ground forces need is
new leadership along with genuine reform and reorganization, the kind of
transformation Rumsfeld's high-tech obsession ignored and the active and retired
four stars successfully obstructed.
Sadly, none of these points figures in the President's strategic calculus
because sending more troops to
now provides just about everyone with something they need: The White House
along with Democrats and Republicans in Congress can claim to be doing
something. The generals, eager to shift blame for their failures on the ground
in Iraq to the White House get their old built-in excuse for their failure (we
didn't have enough troops) and even the enemy on the ground in Iraq wins because
he gets several thousand more targets to wound or kill.
wins because our increased presence offends Arabs everywhere and we mobilize
's bid to lead the Muslim World. It is clearly a win-win situation for everyone
except the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines doing the fighting on the
The late Peter Drucker wrote, "We have tried to substitute mass for
purpose. We have tried to regain military potency of defense by making it
gigantic, unwieldy, complex. It never works." Drucker was right.
In 1991 and again in 2003, our superb combat soldiers and marines easily
overpowered their weak enemies regardless of what decisions the generals took.
But the enemy adapted and the generals did not. Now, more soldiers and marines
will not compensate for misguided strategy and failed generalship in
The author is a retired Army Colonel and a
decorated Gulf War combat veteran. He has authored three books on modern
warfare and military reform. His latest is Transformation under
Fire: Revolutionizing the Way America Fights.
He writes here for the
Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information in