The Washington Post and papers everywhere are atwitter about President Bush’s Iraq speech tonight and that expected call for a “surge” of 20,000 new troops. According to the Post, it is the first time that the President is going against the military’s recommendations:
Bush’s decision appears to mark the first major disagreement between the White House and key elements of the Pentagon over the Iraq war since Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, then the Army chief of staff, split with the administration in the spring of 2003 over the planned size of the occupation force, which he regarded as too small.
I got a call from a military guy I’ve known since my days working in the CIA (and that was a while ago). “It is the nightmare scenario,” he said, “it is the politically cheap scenario. We [in the military] aren’t against more troops. We are for more troops – 50,000 or more new troops. What we are against is too few new troops that will hurt morale, not be enough to make a difference and have everyone saying in six months that it was a failure.”
This is the first time I found myself hoping my friend was wrong. What other choice do I have?