Monday, October 10, 2005

Another 15-20 years isn't so long

This week's "Top Ten Conservative Idiots" over at Democratic Underground is one of the best ever - each one is a gem. But this passage about Iraq stood out to me:
The truth is that Iraq is on the verge of tearing itself apart, with our soldiers trapped in the middle. In order to "catapult the propaganda," Bush has been tossing out the fantasy that "Right now there are over 80 army battalions fighting alongside coalition troops," with "over 30 Iraqi battalions in the lead."

There are about 500-600 soldiers in a battalion, so that's a minimum of 15,000 Iraqi soldiers ready to rock n' roll. Considering that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, that means we only have to train 135,000 more Iraqis (at a cost of $7 billion per month) to finish the job. It took us two years to train 15,000 so it should only take another, oh, 15-20 years or so to train the rest.

There's just one problem - when Bush says that there are 30-80 Iraqi battalions fighting in Iraq, he's talking out of his ass. Last week Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there is actually only one self-sufficient Iraqi battalion.

One. It's taken us two years to train one self-sufficient battalion, comprising 500-600 soldiers, at a cost of $200 billion dollars and counting.

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