A new study by the Congressional Budget Office shows that the real troop increase associated with President Bush’s escalation policy could be as high as 48,000, more than double the 21,500 soldiers that Bush has claimed.
Last night on MSNBC, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman reported that White House counsellor Dan Bartlett had written him in an email, “[W]e don’t agree with the CBO estimate and analysis. We think that there are already enough support troops on the ground there that very few will be required.” Watch it:
In fact, the CBO report considers Bartlett’s claim and rejected it. “Army and DoD officials have indicated that it will be both possible and desirable to deploy fewer additional support units than historical practice would indicate,” the report states. “CBO expects that, even if the additional brigades required fewer support units than historical practice suggests, those units would still represent a significant additional number of military personnel.”
Fineman added that if the administration is going to “flat-out deny” the CBO report, “then the question’s going to be, ok, if it’s not 15,000, how many is it? And where are your plans for actually knowing how many people you are putting in there? It undermines the whole notion that they know precisely what they are doing at this moment.”
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