Come to think of it, why don't we have 600,000 troops in Iraq?

When playing Grammar Polezei in GD, check yo’ self before you wreck yourself.

Although troop refers to a group of soldiers, troops is applied properly to a plural of soldiers. You can’t say, “a troop is sitting under that tree,” referring to a single soldier (although a platoon of soldiers might be appropriate), but it’s perfectly cromulent to say, “there are 100 troops on the other side of that creek.”

Also, I tried to start a similar thread a couple of weeks ago and the general conclusion seemed to be that regardless of the pros or cons, it’s logistically unfeasible for our current military.

Here’s another citation from Merriam-Webster:

“1 a : a group of soldiers b : a cavalry unit corresponding to an infantry company c plural : ARMED FORCES, SOLDIERS”

They actually use one of your suggested alternatives to define troop in the plural form. Clearly it is not just plain wrong.

That’s a pretty thin excuse there Sam. You have one strained hypothetical about what maybe the Iraqi people might have thought and then just a whole lot of ad hominem, vs. the rather more detailed arguments given by generals and others who thought that more was required to successfully occupy and pacify the country.

Simply put, with the US troop levels and the size of the country, there were less troops per capita than there are police in most major US cities, which are themselves a heck of a lot more peaceful than Iraq. Given that fighting the insurgency was a lot more like being the nation’s police force than really fighting a war, that’s a lot more plausible explanation for why the troop levels weren’t sufficient enough to really keep and solidify order than “if there are too many troops, that might make folks scared maybe.”

You guys are forgetting about other allied countries. There are enough soldiers and workers around the world. They just need to be convinced to send them.

And I disagree with Sam Stone. I think it’s the amount of time we’re there that’s making us look worse to the citizens. If that place was swarmed with a massive amount of soldiers for much, much less time, we could have been in and out of there before they had a chance to develop an opinion. By the time they stopped to breath, we’d be out of there and they’d have a solid infrastructure and their country up and running. Yea it’s just wishful thinking. But I believe if we sent in a massive amount right now and got things done faster, it would benefit everyone involved.

I’ll agree with this. I tried to point out in the other thread that massing of troop-force does seem to have a calming effect upon areas, but we just don’t have the numbers to execute that force throughout Iraq.

Our first mistake upon entry to Iraq was only having a division in Baghdad, completely unable to control the looting or fires for weeks. If you want to make people believe in the new kid on the block, you’ve got to be able to demonstrate an appropriate level of control.

So Sam, when the commanders on the ground constantly complain they don’t have enough troops to do their missions are they wrong? Are you saying we have enough troops?

We may have only needed 200-400k troops, in the beginning, to pacify the country. This, of course, assumes we didn’t screw up all the other things we did, which is unlikely, so it still would’ve been ugly. But it would’ve been prettier than today, for sure. If you need 50 guys, but only have 20, it’s a problem. You start to play whack a mole.

At this point I don’t know if even 400-600k would be enough.

All I said was that large numbers of soldiers isn’t a panacea against a determined insurgency. The best hope the U.S. had was to keep the insurgency at bay right from the beginning. Various screwups squandered that opportunity.

Handover to Iraqi Army 'set for the end of next year’

Of special note…

Is that 600,000 fighting troops or total deployed force? Because if it’s the former, you’d need another million or two to supply them, provide rotation etc. I doubt the whole western world together could manage to deploy half a million actual grunts to the middle east.

I think the number of troops would merely change the nature of the violence, not stop it.

Consider Northern Ireland about 20 years ago.
(I simplify here and aplogise to Irish posters, but I want to make a general point.)

The British Army had plenty of troops, intelligence and no communication or supply problems, the co-operation of the elected Government and police force. The troops spoke the language of the population.
Nevertheless the IRA terrorists continued to bomb and kill.

Now consider the US in Iraq.
There is no comparison on any of the above.
You have fewer troops, little intelligence, massive supply difficulties, no local army and a weak Government / police force. How many of the US troops can speak to the Iraqis?

Total Deployed.

Korea. If the NK’s are so stupid as to start an aggressive war against SK, there’s nothing that can beat artillery for immediacy, power, and long-lastingness. I’d rather have a couple 155s a few miles behind my lines than several bombers with only a couple bombs on them (dedicated ground attack aircraft are another story but we don’t seem to have much of them anymore either.)

I’ll take understatements for 600, Alex.

And it seems that herein lies the heart of the matter. Virtually everything was cocked up inre Iraq, to the point that I’m not sure we can even get a handle on infrastructure, which I always felt was the smartest and best thing to do. After all, we managed to fuck it up, getting it back to where it was before we rolled in as liberators seems the proper thing to do.

As to the OP: well, as has been pointed out, the US doesn’t have that kind of manpower without bringing back the draft.

You are aware that the Brits eventually WON that one (as much as such a thing is possible there), right?

Agreed. I was in tanks, and we often thought of ourselves as “lords of the battlefield;” but we always had the call-fire freq. dialed in on the radio, and treated our F.I.S.T. folks like visiting royalty.

When you want to rain a world of hurt down on the Bad Guys until they get tired of it and go away, it’s hard to beat big-gun artillery, or cracker-jack mortar teams.

For one, they’re down on the ground with you, and like the thought that you’re between them and the Bad Guys, so they are less apt to fly away and bomb some bridge somewhere else because some Air Farce general decides that that’s a higher priority than supporting a buncha ground pounders down in the mud and the blood.

Two, becuase artillery is typically in the FEBA, or just behind it, they are close enough to sustain a high volume of fire for a lot longer than a buncha jets flying around overhead that may be ducking flak (AA fire), or looking worriedly at their fuel gauges, or wondering if they can drop their bombs and get back to base in time for 9 holes of golf before retiring to the O-Club for a nice hot steak and a few shots of Jack.

Three: psychologically, arty has it all over air support. Bad Guys can see enemy jets flying overhead and at least think about shooting back, even with just an AK-47. But they may have shoulder-fired AA missiles, or theater AD assets, as well, which can provide some comfort to the poor grunt getting blowed up by aerially delivered ordnance.

Not so with arty and mortars. The poor grunt can only hunker down and hope to ride it out. And if he’s hunkered down, praying to whatever God he professes faith to, then he ain’t shooting back.

You have an interesting definition of ‘winning’.

Firstly overwhelming military force failed to prevent terrorist violence.
Secondly the situation has stabilised only because of negotiations with terrorists.
Thirdly IRA terrorists are now part of the Government:

“Are we going to have in the government of Northern Ireland those who are terrorists, those that condoned and even planned murders, who robbed banks, who committed criminal acts and who will not support the police?”

The equivalent situation in Iraq would see the US army withdraw, the US negotiate with the groups that have killed US soldiers and the leaders of such groups get Iraqi Government posts.

You mean, much like the situation in Malaya at the end? Most people would consider that to be another British Victory.

NI is still part of the UK, it isn’t ruled by the IRA and the violence has largely subsided. That’s about as close to victory as you can get. One thing about dealing with insurgencies is that if a substantial segment of the population is going to be backing the insurgency regardless, due to shared ethnicity, religion, or some factor that can’t be dealt with by force, then the only hope of winning is to eventually force the insurgents into a political settlement where the insurgents’, and thus that segment of the disenfranchised population’s interests are somehow represented peacefully. The IRA didn’t want to be PART of the goverment, they wanted to be THE goverment. They’re not today because at the end, the could not win on the battle field through conventional means, their organization was hopelessly infiltrated by British agents and turncoats, and their base of support was losing interest. Basically, they lost the war. The only other alternative would have been to kill or displace the entire disenfranchised population. That also works (see Stalin, Chingis Khan).

A NI style settlement in Iraq would be considered an overwhelming American victory.