Top U.S. military commanders in Iraq have decided to recommend a "surge" of fresh American combat forces, eliminating one of the last remaining hurdles to proposals being considered by President Bush for a troop increase, a defense official familiar with the plan said Friday.
Unsurprisingly, these commanders have gotten the hint from the commander-in-chief. This is his one last roll of the dice, and he is not to be denied, even though some are still resisting increased combat forces in Iraq:
Some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff remain skeptical of a surge, unconvinced that it will yield more positive results than other recent military operations to secure Baghdad or Iraq. But other military officers have said that a buildup in troops is America's last chance to roll back the sectarian violence, neutralize the insurgency and strengthen the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
And that is the key language: "last chance." For it is only a chance, and a poor one at that. Increasing combat forces in Baghdad-by sending 3,700 more troops to boost American military forces to 15,000 in the capital-has already failed once, when the only result of Operation Together Forward in late summer was increased attacks in Baghdad, the utter failure of American-trained Iraqi units to battle the enemy, and more casualties among American soldiers. Is 20,000 or 30,000 the magical number that can somehow produce a different result? No, it is not. But for a Bush administration that refuses to admit to the failure of military strength in Iraq, giving into the dream of stability is easier than facing the reality of more dead Americans and Iraqis.