Thursday, October 14, 2004

Troop levels in Iraq

Back in September, Donald Rumsfeld said in a speech given at Ft. Campbell that U.S. forces in Iraq numbered 137,000, down from 150,000. Robert Novak (from his hospital bed!) refers to Rita Cosby of Fox News who had asked (or here) Rumsfeld before he left on his recent trip to Iraq whether the United States may 'start to pull out' after the Iraqi elections next year. Rumsfeld had replied:

"We've already started. We had 150,000 troops over there originally. We're down to 137,000 right now."

Think about the numbers. 150,000. 137,000. The difference is 13,000. What does that number represent? Of course! It's the American casualty rate (more or less: we can't be sure as the Pentagon keeps the exact number a big secret). The numbers of American troops are dropping because the Pentagon hasn't got the troops to replace the fallen. Rumsfeld has the audacity to boast about his reduced level of troops, not pointing out why they are reduced. I have before never heard the civilian leader of an army boast about his huge number of casualties. On this logic, the United States will have won the war when every American soldier is withdrawn from Iraq, either in a coffin or on a stretcher with missing limbs, eyes, or mind. The shortage of fodder units is why the Americans are trying to get NATO into a combat role in Afghanistan. The non-American members of NATO ought to reject this. If NATO goes into Afghanistan it will free up American troops for use in the next illegal and immoral war planned by the neocons. An over-extended American army is just what the world needs right now.


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