Tuesday, August 26, 2003

So, how many Eastern Europeans exactly will it take to stabilize Iraq? James Dobbins, who helped to manage the reconstruction of Bosnia and Kosovo, and also served as a special envoy for George W. Bush in Afghanistan, tallied the numbers.
Using the Bosnian model, he concluded that to be effective in Iraq the US would need 258,000 troops on the ground. Using the Kosovo model, that figure rose to 526,000. The current deployment in Iraq of some 170,000 troops, of which 148,000 are US forces, suggests a serious shortfall.
So we're looking at least at another 80,000 Poles, Ukrainians and Bulgarians needed on the ground, because we know these boots won't be filled by American soldiers.
Although neo-conservative dogma favours the all-American option, the US does not have troops to spare, and training more would take time and money. Seeking to expand the army for a war that was supposedly won four months ago also would be far too hazardous politically as a presidential election approaches.
It's too bad Brian Whitaker reviews all the troop options for Bush without analyzing the VVV (very valuable vassals) route. This can be done without a UN resolution or a UN authority over the entire operation. NATO has taken over filling many of the foreign boots in Afghanistan, so why not VVVs -- lots more VVVs -- in Iraq?

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