More troops for Iraq: Ready or not, here we come

The military says it doesn't have the equipment it needs to outfit the troops Bush is sending.

By Tim Grieve
Published January 30, 2007 2:35PM (EST)

Although the Bush administration has tried to sell its plan to send more troops to Iraq as the brainchild of the sovereign government of Iraq, the president acknowledged yesterday that it's not exactly that. "You've heard their prime minister say, 'We're ready to go,'" the president said in an interview with NPR. "And in my judgment, and more importantly, the judgment of the military folks, they're not quite ready to go. And therefore, it is in our interest to help them with an additional 21,000 troops, particularly in Baghdad, to help bring this violence down and to deal with these radicals, whether they be Sunni radicals or Shia radicals."

Just one problem: The additional American troops Bush is already sending aren't really "ready to go," either. As the Washington Post reports today, Bush's escalation plan has "left the Army and Marines scrambling to ensure that the troops could be supported with the necessary armored vehicles, jamming devices, radios and other gear, as well as lodging and other logistics."

The Post says that commanders are skeptical that the additional troops will have the armored Humvees they need; one says that the troops will be left short unless "five brigades of up-armored Humvees fall out of the sky." Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes, the Army's deputy chief of staff for force development, insists that Humvees won't be a problem, but he admits that a shortage of other, larger trucks will be. "We don't have the [armor] kits, and we don't have the trucks," he says. Although additional troops are already arriving in Baghdad, Speakes said it will probably be summer before the troops have all of the "up-armored" trucks they're supposed to have.

Summer? Funny, we could have sworn that we heard Gen. George Casey predict that some of the additional troops could be coming home by then.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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