Bush wants to expand the military

In an interview with the Washington Post, the president says he wants to increase the size of the military, but offers no proposals for how to do so.

Published December 19, 2006 10:35PM (EST)

In an interview with the Washington Post, President Bush announces his intention to expand the size of the military. "It is a (sic) accurate reflection that this ideological war is going to last for a while," he said, "and we're going to need a military that is capable of being able to sustain our efforts to achieve peace."

Forgive us for sounding a cynical note here, but what struck us about this interview, which is already being given prominent play by several news outlets, is that in his big announcement Bush has offered precisely no concrete ideas on how exactly he'll be increasing the size of an all-volunteer Army already stretched dangerously thin in the middle of an extremely unpopular war. We already know the military is having trouble meeting its recruitment goals, and that to compensate it has lowered its testing standards and started accepting felons, white supremacists and gang members.

Don't get us wrong: This proposal sounds nice, but we fear that's the problem. This sounds to us like wishful thinking floated by an administration desperate to look like it's doing something in the face of increasingly bad news coming out of Iraq, a proposal with little chance of real success that, as the Post commendably noted, would come too late to actually help bring fresh troops to Iraq anyway.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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