Iraq troop prediction numbers
January 16, 2007 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Anyone have predictions (with citations) offered on how many troops would be necessary in Iraq? I've heard that generals said up to 300,000 in the run-up, but I can't seem to find sources for these.

Obviously, the more predictions and the more diverse the predictions, the better. Again, citations and sourcing is KEY. (This is not homework, but rather trying to rapidly shore-up some fact-checking that I have to do, plus satisfying my own curiousity).
posted by klangklangston to Law & Government (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Several hundred thousand, said Gen. Shinseki, the most prominent advocate of sending more troops.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:55 PM on January 16, 2007

Response from DOD, from 2006.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:57 PM on January 16, 2007

Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, February 2003: "I would say that what's been mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers."

Paul Wolfowitz said Shinseki was "wildly off the mark." Rumsfeld said, "The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces I think is far off the mark." Pentagon officials put the figure closer to 100,000 troops.

The DOD's 2006 response is inaccurate. Rumseld continually pressed Franks to reduce the troop size. Also, sending enough troops to secure the country initially is a different question than adding troops later.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:01 PM on January 16, 2007

Don't know if this helps but This week's Joe Klein column in Time mentions that 'The counterinsurgency manual suggests a ratio of 20 troops per 1000 residents, or 120000 troops to secure Baghdad alone...'
posted by loosemouth at 3:08 PM on January 16, 2007

Response by poster: I had heard that Powell made a prediction as well, but there's so much fucking googlechaff that I can't seem to find it.
posted by klangklangston at 3:13 PM on January 16, 2007

Response by poster: "“Don Rumsfeld was a hard taskmaster – but he never tried to control the tactics of our war-fight.”"

Aside from the fact that 'war-fight' is a totally Bizarro World construction, is there any citation on the Rumsfeld-decreases-troops thing, Kirkaracha?
posted by klangklangston at 3:18 PM on January 16, 2007

Powell goes unmentioned, but pressure from the political appointees is described in this Seymour Hersh article.

Also, the counterinsurgency manual was just written last year, loosemouth, so while it can be used to critique the Bush Flaccid Surge plan it can't be used as a document to critique the initial troop levels.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:29 PM on January 16, 2007

"Fiasco" by Thomas Ricks quotes that number
posted by milkrate at 3:47 PM on January 16, 2007

Its important to note that 20 troops per 1000 residents, or 120000 troops to secure Baghdad alone number from the counterinsurgency field manual is refering to combat troops and not military personal. It's my understanding that we have 70,000 combat troops in Iraq currently.
posted by Staggering Jack at 5:03 PM on January 16, 2007

is there any citation on the Rumsfeld-decreases-troops thing, Kirkaracha?

... three top officials who served with Franks at the time said the plan was the product of a lengthy and sometimes heated negotiation between the Central Command and the Pentagon, in which Rumsfeld constantly pressed Franks and other senior officers to commit fewer troops to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Central Command originally proposed a force of 380,000 to attack and occupy Iraq. Rumsfeld's opening bid was about 40,000, "a division-plus," said three senior military officials who participated in the discussions. Bush and his top advisers finally approved the 250,000 troops the commanders requested to launch the invasion. But the additional troops that the military wanted to secure Iraq after Saddam's regime fell were either delayed or never sent.
From the Seymour Hersh article:
On at least six occasions, the planner told me, when Rumsfeld and his deputies were presented with operational plans--the Iraqi assault was designated Plan 1003--he insisted that the number of ground troops be sharply reduced.
...near-constant demands from Rumsfeld and his aides for new versions of the war plan using fewer American troops wasted time and diverted attention from fleshing out a blueprint for the March 2003 invasion...
posted by kirkaracha at 6:27 PM on January 16, 2007

I don't recall the exact numbers but the book Cobra II goes into great detail about the planning stages of the war, and the number of troops specified during round after round of negotiations between the military and Rumsfeld before settling on a final plan.
posted by Manjusri at 6:48 PM on January 16, 2007

This documentary, repeating right now, features Amb. Bremer saing he wanted more troops, but was outmaneuvered by Rumsfeld.

For watever that's worth.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:59 PM on January 16, 2007

Response by poster: Sweet. Thanks, guys. I'd love to hear more on the topic, and I'm gonna wait for a little bit on marking any bests, but you helped me fact-check an editorial for tomorrow's paper, so thanks again. (Who says that sometimes AskMe isn't urgent?)
posted by klangklangston at 8:02 PM on January 16, 2007

Frontline: The Invasion of Iraq, Interview with James Fallows

Blind Into Baghdad

Generals Weary of Low Troop Levels

What Went Wrong in Iraq

The list goes on and on (I maintain a bibliography on this topic and if you need additional citations feel free to email me).
posted by mlis at 11:10 PM on January 16, 2007

The Desert Crossing war games, in 1999, recommended 400,000 troops to invade and stabilize Iraq.

In February 2003, a National Security Council memo said that 500,000 troops would be needed for peacekeeping operations in Iraq using the same ratio of troops to population as in Kosovo.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:48 AM on January 17, 2007

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