“Go Big”…”Go Long”…or “Go Home”?

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Today, during a news conference in Bogor, Indonesia, President Bush said, “I have not made any decisions about troop increases, troop decreases, and won’t until I hear from a variety of sources, including our own United States military.”

Yet just last Thursday, the Guardian reported that “President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make “a last big push” to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration’s internal deliberations.”

All of this decision-making for the President comes just as the Baker Commission is set to release its recommendations, which Bush’s comments about troop increases appear to mirror. You can read the leaked parts of their recs. here.
The Pentagon is also getting in on the planning action. Today, the Washington Post reports that the review of Iraq, commissioned by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter Pace, is looking at three options which have been deemed “Go Big,” “Go Long” or “Go Home.”

“Go Big” = a large increase in U.S. troops in Iraq to try to break the cycle of sectarian and insurgent violence. That option has been all but rejected by the study group, which concluded that there are not enough troops in the U.S. military and not enough effective Iraqi forces.

“Go Home” = a swift withdrawal of U.S. troops. It was rejected by the Pentagon group as likely to push Iraq directly into a full-blown and bloody civil war.

“Go Long” (Read: “stay the course“) = Planners envision [it] taking five to 10 more years to create a stable and competent Iraqi army.

The review team seems to be leaning toward an amalgam of “Go Big” and “Go Long,” which looks very similar to the initial recommendations of the Baker Commission, a sharp increase of 20,000- 30,000 troops and then a transition from the suppression of insurgent violence to training and advising the Iraqi Army. They call this one “Go Big But Short While Transitioning to Go Long.” I think someone is having fun over there.

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