Bush's "new" math? Or his plan all along?
by Keith Olbermann
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
February 1, 2007
President Bush has cooked the books about the escalation of the war in Iraq.
The surge will not be 21,500 more troops. Instead, according to the Congressional Budget Office, it will be at least 35,000, up to 48,000. The president simply, perhaps cynically, did not mention the noncombat support troops who will have to go along, and who, despite that word “support,” can just as easily be killed or maimed or psychologically ruined as anybody on the front lines.
Mr. Bush is not doubling down on his bet in Iraq. The reality is, the number of troops could be double what he told us they would be.
For nearly a month now, Mr. Bush and his military chiefs, having said they would surge an additional 21,500 troops in Iraq, in a final, last-ditch and supremely controversial attempt to quell the violence in the civil war. Yet those combat troops would needed to be backed up by just as many, if not more, support troops to provide things like communications, engineering, medical, many other services, as a result, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office today releasing a study that says the real troop increase could be as high as 48,000, more than double the number given by the president, the discrepancy coming to light because of an effort by the Democratic chairman of the House Budget Committee, John Spratt, who also serves on Armed Services, to find out how much the so-called surge might cost, the Congressional Budget Office telling Congressman Spratt that it does not know—yet know, because the Pentagon has not yet decided how many additional support troops it will be sending to Iraq, quoting the CBO‘s letter, dated today, to Mr. Spratt, “Thus far, the Department of Defense, DOD, has identified only combat units for deployment. However, U.S. military operations also require substantial support forces. DOD has not yet indicated which support units will be deployed along with the added combat forces, or how many additional troops will be involved.
CBO estimates on support troops based upon Pentagon precedent, ranging from 15,000 to 28,000, again, bringing total additional forces being sent to Iraq to anywhere from 35,000 to 48,000, far cry from the 20,000 cited last month by Mr. Bush.