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Rumsfeld fudges numbers to announce troop reduction

User ID: 55852
12/24/2005 11:49 AM
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Rumsfeld fudges numbers to announce troop reduction
Rumsfeld fudges numbers to announce troop reduction

Big News Network.com Saturday 24th December, 2005

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's announcement in Iraq Friday that troops would be partially withdrawn in 2006 is a misrepresentation.

Rumsfeld said from Camp Fallujah in Iraq the United States would have two fewer brigades in Iraq in 2006.

The announcement was made before a cheering group of Marines in Camp Fallujah. The secretary said the U.S. will reduce the number of brigades in Iraq from 17 to 15 next year. The change, he said, would drop the number of Americans in the country under the 138,000-level baseline.

The decision reflects the proper balance between coalition and Iraqi forces, the secretary said. The coalition footprint must be large enough to help maintain security and allow the Iraq forces to train up, Rumsfeld explained, yet not so large as to be intrusive or to antagonize the Iraqi people. The force also must not be so large as to take initiative from the Iraqi security forces, he said.

The reduction is possible because of the growing strength and capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, Rumsfeld said. In the coming months, he added, more and more Iraqi army and police units will take over battlespace from coalition forces. Iraqi brigades and divisions are standing up, Rumsfeld said, and American trainers will continue to work with Iraqi units.

The reality however is the number of forces in Iraq for a long period of time has been 138,000 (although Lieutenant General John R. Vines, Commander, of the Multinational Corps in Iraq told reporters in June this year at a security briefing the number was 135,000) and it was increased temporarily to 158,000 for the December 15 elections. Prior to this occurring military officials repeatedly said troops would return to the 138,000 level following the elections. What the defense secretary said on Friday reflects no change in the strategy of the past several months. The build-up for the election and the reduction to follow was widely reported well prior to the elections. Yet media reports have treated the Rumsfeld announcement as a significant withdrawal, which it is clearly not. There will be no reduction of the number of troops in Iraq, other than of the additional troops that were transported there purely for the elections. In fact the number, according to Rumsfeld, will increase.

"The number of American forces that will train Iraqi forces and help them develop intelligence and logistics capabilities will increase," he said.

On the "rationale" for the "withdrawal," the defense secretary said, "President Bush approved the troop reduction in consultation with coalition allies and Iraqi officials". He added, "The size and composition of U.S. forces, of course, will continue to fluctuate as commanders continue to shift focus to emphasize training and supporting the Iraqi security forces."
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 43358
United States
12/24/2005 11:53 AM
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Re: Rumsfeld fudges numbers to announce troop reduction
Yeah this is much ado about nothing, and
yet many, many, U.S. papers picked up the
story and acted like this is some big
revelation of a HUGE drawdown. It's really
just political propaganda for the upcoming