M. O'BRIEN: Well, Michael, you have talked to the people on the ground there. I'm sure they probably don't say it for the record, but how many troops do they think need in order to get a hold of this problem?
WARE: Well, officially, from Baghdad to Ramadi, the response you will get from American commanders is that we have an appropriate level of force to do what we have to do within the confines of our mission. However, the key term that all of them use is "economy of force."
They say that we are applying an economy of force mission. That in itself is an admission that they don't have the full number of troops that they need to do what actually has to be done.
Privately, off line, what commanders, again, from Baghdad to Ramadi, will tell you is that they need at least three times as many troops as they currently have there now, be that Iraqi and American or, even better, just three times as many as American troops. I mean, there's an area there north of the Euphrates River that is used by al Qaeda's top leadership that Osama bin Laden himself points to. It's the size of New Hampshire.
You have only a few hundred American troops there. They can do nothing to hamper al Qaeda's leadership in that area -- Miles.
I wonder if these are the numbers Kristol and Lowry were talking about in today's Post. I sincerely doubt it, and the American people would absolutely freak out if they were told we needed to add 280,000 more troops which we can't do realistically anyway unless we want to send them out there with broomsticks to ride around in unarmored jeeps. And to be honest, while that might have been enough to keep the genie in the bottle, I think you might need even more than that to put it back in, say another 400,000 over current troop levels.
Doesn't matter, isn't going to happen.
Found via Attaturk guesting at Atrios. You Tube available here.