’30,000 Troops’ Redux
Hey, remember earlier this week when we discussed how to read a troop-increase announcement?
The troop numbers that are typically announced are combat troops — not support troops like, say, engineers or headquarters staff and so on, the people who enable combat power. That’s why an announced 21,000-troop surge in Iraq in 2007 became, in reality, a 28,000-troop surge. So when Obama announces whatever number he announces, listen for whether it’s an aggregate total or a just a combat-troop total. If it’s a combat troop total, add several thousand troops to the figure he announces.
A senior military official said that the final number could go as high as 35,000 to allow for additional support personnel such as engineers, medevac units and route-clearance teams, which comb roads for bombs. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss understandings between the Pentagon and the White House.