Increasing the Carnage

Remember what we said just a couple of posts ago about accountability?

U.S. quietly, dramatically increasing Iraq troop levels
By STEWART M. POWELL
HEARST NEWSPAPERS

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.

This “second surge” of troops in Iraq, which is being executed by extending tours for brigades already there and by deploying more units, could boost the number of combat troops to as many as 98,000 by the end of this year. When support troops are included, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq could increase from 162,000 now to more than 200,000 — the most ever — by the end of the year.

The efforts to reinforce U.S. troops in Iraq are being carried out without the fanfare that accompanied President Bush’s initial troop surge in January.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. William Nash, the U.S. commander who led NATO troops into Bosnia in late 1995, when asked to comment on the analysis of deployment orders, said: “It doesn’t surprise me that they’re not talking about it. I think they would be very happy not to have any more attention paid to this.”

The first surge was prominently proclaimed by Bush in a nationally televised address Jan. 10, when he ordered five additional combat brigades to join 15 brigades already in Iraq.

The buildup was designed to give commanders the 20 combat brigades that Pentagon planners said were needed to provide security in Baghdad and in western Anbar province.

Since then, the Pentagon has extended combat tours for units in Iraq from 12 months to 15 months and announced the deployment of additional brigades.

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