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Will 20,000 Do The Trick?
Current Plan Falls Below One Troop Per 50 Iraqis Threshold
01/09/2007 2:50 PM ET
Slate's Fred Kaplan says Bush's "surge" plan apparently disregards key advice from the soon-to-be top U.S. general in Iraq.

Kaplan determines how many troops would be necessary to quell the violence in Baghdad using the counterinsurgency tactics developed by General David Petraeus in the new U.S. military Counterinsurgency Manual.

Petraeus and his co-authors discussed this strategy at great length in the Army's counterinsurgency field manual. One point they made is that it requires a lot of manpower—at minimum, 20 combat troops for every 1,000 people in the area's population. Baghdad has about 6 million people; so clearing, holding, and building it will require about 120,000 combat troops. Right now, the United States has about 70,000 combat troops in all of Iraq (another 60,000 or so are support troops or headquarters personnel). Even an extra 20,000 would leave the force well short of the minimum required—and that's with every soldier and Marine in Iraq moved to Baghdad. Iraqi security forces would have to make up the deficit.

Read the entire commentary here.


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