In "Reinforce Baghdad" [op-ed, Sept. 12], William Kristol and Rich Lowry argue that the United States needs to deploy "substantially" more troops to Iraq to stabilize the country. Aside from the strategic dubiousness of their proposal -- Kristol and Lowry's piece might alternatively have been titled "Reinforcing Failure" -- there is a practical obstacle to it that they overlook: Sending more troops to Iraq would, at the moment, threaten to break our nation's all-volunteer Army and undermine our national security. This is not a risk our country can afford to take.Korb and Ogden explain in detail how the US military has already been dangerously decimated by the Bush administration's Mesopotamian mis-adventure and that any increase in Iraqi troop levels would further reduce military readiness. They conclude with this:
While we disagree with Kristol and Lowry's contention that sending more troops to Iraq would bring peace and stability to the country, the U.S. Army and National Guard and Reserve should nevertheless possess the capacity to respond to such a plan or other deployments without undue strain and long-term costs. The solution is to do two things that the Bush administration has not: permanently increase the number of troops in the active Army and fully fund its equipment needs. Let this, not the expenditure of more blood and treasure in Iraq, be the "courageous act of presidential leadership" that Kristol and Lowry desire.