Citing sources within the Pentagon, the Thursday edition of the NBC Nightly News reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to put 12,000 more National Guard troops on alert for deployment to Iraq. NBC said that four guard brigades from four states would be affected by the deployment. The deployment would begin in early 2008 and it would last for one year.  The Pentagon of course had no comment, as it is their policy not to publicly comment on potential personnel movements.

This deployment would be slightly smaller than the Bush troop surge. When support personnel are included, the January Bush troop surge that was supposed to be 21,000 will balloon to 30,000. More evidence of the strain on the Army is that on Monday, 9,000 troops will have their promised year at home cut short as they will be sent back into battle early.

Look it is obvious that this administration is going to keep putting a strain on the military regardless if this is good policy or not. Long ago political decision makers needed to commit to a bigger force size when it may have made a difference, but why are we still planning to send combat troops in next year? The Guardsmen are not being sent to Iraq to act as advisors or trainers. They are being sent back to fight. Also what does this say about the success of the Bush troop surge, if the Pentagon is already planning to send another 12,000 troops in eight months?  I believe that the United States has a moral obligation to stabilize Iraq, and turn the country over to the Iraqi people, but I fail to see where sending more combat troops in is a step in the right direction.

When is the administration going to increase their military resources to train the Iraqi Army to take over? The majority of the Iraqi people don’t want the U.S. in Iraq. The majority of the American people want to know when the troops will be coming home. The White House, and its political dependants, the Congressional Republicans are the only ones still standing behind this war. I would have no problem with the sending of more personnel if it was part of an end game strategy to get the U.S. out of Iraq, but there is no strategy here.

The administration was afraid to deploy overwhelming force in the beginning and has been trying to do too much with too little for too long ever since. It is cruel to keep ripping the same tired battle worn soldiers away from their loved ones, just so that we can maybe keep this conflict at stalemate status. It is time to be thinking about ending the war and bringing the troops home. Putting more combat troops in won’t solve anything.   

Link to the NBC News story

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at
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