2004 December 24 Friday
Colin Powell Recently Argued For More Troops In Iraq

In a videoconference on November 12, 2004 between George W. Bush and Tony Blair and their top advisors Colin Powell belatedly argued for at least a weak version of the Powell Doctrine.

Accounts differ about the details of Powell's remarks. One U.S. official said that Powell flatly stated: "We don't have enough troops. We don't control the terrain."

Some State Department official in the article tries to argue that Powell wasn't that blunt. But it sounds highly plausible Powell said this privately. After all, it is true and Powell knows enough about military matters to know it is true. Oh, and he turned in his resignation right after saying it. So he was certainly in a position where he could afford to be honest to his boss.

But problem with Powell's advice is that the US does not have enough troops to fight the insurgency properly. The result is that lots of American boys are dying in a futile effort.

Former civilian top administrator of Iraq Paul Bremer also says there are not enough troops in Iraq and there never have been enough.

"The single most important change -- the one thing that would have improved the situation -- would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout" the occupation, Bremer said in September, according to the Banner-Graphic in Greencastle, Ind.

Bush's strategy in Iraq is flawed in its assumptions. He does not have the guts to either withdraw or ask Congress for hundreds of billions more to scale up size of the US Army to do a proper occupation. How long will this state of affairs continue?.

Perhaps it is best we continue along without enough soldiers. We may withdraw from Iraq quicker this way. The learning curve for the American public may progress more rapidly if Bush continues along his current course.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 December 24 04:49 PM  MidEast Iraq Military Needs

TangoMan said at December 24, 2004 6:54 PM:

Have you noticed that the recruitment bonuses have tripled in some cases while at the same time Pell Grants have been cut? There's more than one way to institute a draft :) Note this link is from CommonDreams so run it through your filters to parse the data from the spin.

Randall Parker said at December 24, 2004 7:26 PM:


Yes, I did notice in some other story that recruitment bonuses had been as much as tripled. Manpower is going to become an even bigger problem because people are not going to enlist in the Guard and Reserves since doing so has become likely to become the equivalent of signing up for active duty.

The problem with using money to recruit more people is that it ends up having to be given to all soldiers. So imagine the military could increase wages by 10% to get 5% more people to sign up. They can't just give the wage increase to the incremental 5%.

The military ought to be spending a lot more to automate work and to buy stuff that does not need as much maintenance. But investments can't be made because all the money is going to meet immediate needs.

We just have to watch this play out while the American populace slowly learn the extent of the problem.

TangoMan said at December 24, 2004 7:43 PM:


I was long expecting Pell Grants to be cut. Think about it - a student on the margin, desperately needing that grant to start or complete their education. This guided steering of these students on the margin towards the military's extensive, and now even more generous, benefits package can be the easiest means towards the ends of acquiring that education. Some students will now avail themselves of the "opportunity" which they would never have considered while in receipt of a Pell Grant.

Your 2nd paragraph - that's why bonuses are being upped but not salary levels.

As for automation, agree with you. Also better cost control. I recall reading studies that report that the heavy reliance on contractors is actually less cost effective than expected (before danger bonueses are even factored in), but it does lower the manpower requirements.

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