Last night on NBC Nightly News, Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski said that many military officials are “suspicious” of President Bush’s announcement that he plans to increase the size of the armed forces. They believe that “he’s dangling that offer out there in an effort to buy the military support for the option to surge additional American troops into Iraq as if it’s some kind of tradeoff.”
Miklaszewski added that military leaders are also still opposed to an increase in U.S. troops in Iraq, believing it would “be like throwing kerosene on a fire.” Watch it:
In the 2004 campaign, Bush repeatedly attacked Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) proposal to expand the Army by 40,000 troops. As recently as six months ago, a “Statement of Administration Policy” stated that the administration “opposes increases in minimum active Army and Marine Corps end strengths.” Bush’s plan to send 15,000 to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq has been unanimously opposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as by Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: The President’s decision to push for this expansion of the US military has caught a few people at the Pentagon by surprise. We turn to our Pentagon correspondent, Jim Miklaszewski. And Jim, a lot of the generals have been asking for this for a long time, as recently as last week on Capitol Hill.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: That’s exactly right, Brian. But some military officials are highly suspicious of the President’s sudden turnaround on the issue. They believe that he’s dangling that offer out there in an effort to buy the military support for the option to surge additional American troops into Iraq as if it’s some kind of tradeoff. You throw in 30,000 more American troops into Baghdad now in exchange for an overall larger force four to five years down the road.
But many military leaders that we’re talking to still oppose a surge. They still believe it won’t work and will put more Americans at risk. As one senior military official put it today, it’ll be like throwing kerosene on a fire.