Joint Chiefs oppose troop "surge"

The administration is at odds with top military officials, who think sending additional troops to Iraq will do more harm than good.

Published December 19, 2006 1:53PM (EST)

As the administration and its supporters, like Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman, push for a magic solution to the war in Iraq, there is news today that their preferred solution is opposed at top levels in the military.

The Washington Post reports that the Joint Chiefs have been opposing any push for a "surge" in troop levels in Iraq, an idea the Post calls "one of the central proposals on the table of the White House policy review."

"[T]he Joint Chiefs," the Post reports, "think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military." Among those disadvantages, the Post says, is the possibility that an increase in troops will actually make the situation worse by provoking additional insurgent and al Qaeda attacks and giving recruiters of foreign fighters an even better propaganda tool.

It's worth noting that this plan enjoys almost no popular support, either -- a CNN poll released Monday shows only 11 percent of the country favors a troop increase.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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