Providing further proof that President Bush’s escalation is hardly a short-term surge, Hearst Newspapers reports today that President Bush is quietly implementing a second Iraq troop surge that would “nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year.”
According to the analysis of Pentagon redeployment numbers:
This “second surge” of troops in Iraq, which is being executed by extending tours for brigades already there and by deploying more units, could boost the number of combat troops to as many as 98,000 (from 52,500) by the end of this year. When support troops are included, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq could increase from 162,000 now to more than 200,000 — the most ever — by the end of the year.
This escalation would bring the total number of brigades in Iraq to 28 by winter. In the current escalation, Bush ordered five brigades to accompany the 15 already stationed in Iraq.
While Bush proudly trumpeted the first escalation in January with a nationally televised address, he is reportedly keeping this one under wraps, not addressing it in any major public medium. “It doesn’t surprise me that they’re not talking about it. I think they would be very happy not to have any more attention paid to this,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. William Nash.