First, notice that now the election is over, it's okay to start talking about how more troops are needed on the ground. This discussion is couched in terms of continuing to press the "insurgents" now that the battle in Fallujah is over, but if comments about having "broken the back" of the insurgency could be taken at face value, then why would more troops be needed? Now that the election is safely past and Bush has no fear of being held responsible by voters for just how FUBAR Iraq has become, he is free to ramp up troop strength:
The officers said the exact number of extra troops needed is still being reviewed but estimated it at the equivalent of several battalions, or about 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers. The number of U.S. troops in Iraq fell to nearly 100,000 last spring before rising to 138,000, where it has stayed since the summer.Second, while it was perfectly okay to "telegraph" our intentions in Fallujah, but hold off from executing the attack - again so that no ugly pictures would interfere with the Bush campaign's rosy depiction of progress in Iraq - it is now not okay to do so.
To boost the current level, military commanders have considered extending the stay of more troops due to rotate out shortly, or accelerating the deployment of the 3rd Infantry Division, which is scheduled to start in January. But a third option—drawing all or part of a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division on emergency standby in the United States—has emerged as increasingly likely.
In discussing battle plans, commanders here did not want to telegraph the areas U.S. forces might be focusing on for their next offensives. But some of the potential targets can easily be discerned by mapping the locations of attacks on U.S. forces, including areas in or around the restive cities of Mosul, Ramadi, Baqubah, Samarra and Baghdad.Most disturbing of all in reading this article is that is seems that some key lessons that should have been learned are being ignored. The first is that drawing on the emergency reserves - that brigade of the 82d Airborne Division - could leave the military even more short-handed than it already is to deal with military flare-ups in another part of the world. The second is that it seems that BushCo. is not finished "misunderestimating" the insurgents:
At the same time, officers cautioned against expecting anything on the scale of Fallujah, which involved more than 10,000 U.S. troops and about 2,500 Iraqi forces.Not yet... not yet.
“They’re not going to be big operations like Fallujah, because there’s no place else in Iraq where the situation is like what it was there,” one commander said.