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Pentagon memo predicts 10,000 or more American soldiers could die in Iraq by 2008

 
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01/13/2007 11:31 AM
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Pentagon memo predicts 10,000 or more American soldiers could die in Iraq by 2008
Pentagon memo predicts 10,000 or more American soldiers could die in Iraq by 2008

From M. Mandeville's Earth Changes Report
January 12, 2007 6:27 AM |
[link to www.capitolhillblue.com]

Pentagon planners this week warned President George W. Bush that his "troop surge" plan could double U.S. casualties in Iraq in the coming year and result in 10,000 or more American deaths by the end of 2008.

In a classified assessment memo, military experts predicted violence against U.S. troops will increase "at a sustained pace" and concluded that increasing the use of soldiers for house to house searches in Baghdad will "dramatically alter" the "ratio of casualties to actions" in that civil-war torn city, says a military source familiar with the memo.

The Pentagon report admitted battle weary soldiers are more prone to mistakes that lead to casualties and noted that military personnel sent to Iraq for third and possibly fourth tours increase the odds that those soldiers will become casualties of war.

The memo concluded that American military deaths could top 6,000 by the end of 2007 and exceed 10,000 or more in 2008 with more than 100,000 wounded and/or maimed for life.

In an appearance before the Senate Armed Services committee Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice refused to provide an estimate of U.S. casualties, saying such estimates are not possible but the Pentagon assessment had been delivered to the White House on Tuesday, two days before her testimony.

Military planners, as a matter of course, prepare casualty estimates as part of any action.

Senators from both sides of the aisle told Rice they did not believe her testimony, saying too many Bush administration officials have lied to Congress too many times.

The casualty assessment comes as the Pentagon abandons its limit on the time a citizen-soldier can be required to serve on active duty, officials said Thursday, a major change that reflects an Army stretched thin by longer-than-expected combat in Iraq.

The day after President Bush announced his plan for a deeper U.S. military commitment in Iraq, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the change in reserve policy would have been made anyway because active-duty troops already were getting too little time between their combat tours.

The Pentagon also announced it is proposing to Congress that the size of the Army be increased by 65,000, to 547,000 and that the Marine Corps, the smallest of the services, grow by 27,000, to 202,000, over the next five years. No cost estimate was provided, but officials said it would be at least several billion dollars.

Until now, the Pentagon's policy on the Guard or Reserve was that members' cumulative time on active duty for the Iraq or Afghan wars could not exceed 24 months. That cumulative limit is now lifted; the remaining limit is on the length of any single mobilization, which may not exceed 24 consecutive months, Pace said.

In other words, a citizen-soldier could be mobilized for a 24-month stretch in Iraq or Afghanistan, then demobilized and allowed to return to civilian life, only to be mobilized a second time for as much as an additional 24 months. In practice, Pace said, the Pentagon intends to limit all future mobilizations to 12 months.

Members of the Guard combat brigades that have served in Iraq in recent years spent 18 months on active duty ­ about six months in pre-deployment training in the United States, followed by about 12 months in Iraq. Under the old policy, they could not be sent back to Iraq because their cumulative time on active duty would exceed 24 months. Now that cumulative limit has been lifted, giving the Pentagon more flexibility.

A senior U.S. military official who briefed reporters Thursday on Iraq-related developments said that by next January, the Pentagon "probably will be calling again" on National Guard combat brigades that previously served yearlong tours in Iraq. Under Pentagon ground rules, the official could not be further identified.

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