President Bush: “Some Americans ask me, if completing the mission is so important, why don’t you send more troops? If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tel me they have the number of troops they need to do their job.”
Fact: According to the London-based think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the insurgency in Iraq gains strength from the lawlessness of western Iraq: “Militarily, it’s a security vacuum.” The main reason U.S. military officers have said they are unable to gain control of the west? Not enough troops. (As Maj. Mark Lister, a senior Marine air officer in Al Anbar province, put it, “Basically, we’ve got all the toys, but not enough boys.”) President Bush has insisted he has sent enough troops to Iraq. U.S. military officers in the western Al Anbar province say they’ve repeatedly asked for more troops, but commanders in Baghdad and the Pentagon have denied their requests.