Unconfirmed sources report that the Bush administration has already decided to send more troops to Iraq following the 2006 midterm elections. The internal White House memo outlining the plan was apparently leaked to the media by a Pentagon official who is opposed to the plan. The plan called 'Operation Legacy' calls for the doubling the number of American troops in Iraq to nearly 300,000 by early 2007.
The plan calls for a rapid deployment of over 140,000 new American troops into the Iraq theater. The additional troops will go the attack and destroy terrorist targets while the troops currently in country will continue their ongoing security operations. The Pentagon is hoping to have all the additional troops on the ground by the early spring of next year.
With the added troops and continuing economic and political gains the President plans on a quick stabilization of the country and a full troop withdrawal by the fall of 2008 in time for the Presidential elections.
"The President is no fool." Says political analyst Andrew Brooks. "He knows that he can't announce this before the election. The people will revolt, his own party is likely to revolt. The President sees a narrow window to work in between elections and he is apparently going for it. The President must make his move in December to get more troops there before things totally come apart, but he can't start until after the midterms."
"Increasing troop strength in Iraq is a very bold move for the President. And one where he is really going to have to lead the country. The country doesn't like what is going on there and Bush must convince the people that this is the best move." Says Washington insider David Shields. "It's going to be tough, very tough to sell this one."
Operation Legacy signals a serious recommitment by the Bush administration to the Iraq project, but also casts doubt on their previous decisions. By doubling troops levels they are admitting that they didn't send enough in the first place. Also by waiting until after the election they show that they don't believe the country is with them and that they are letting political factors determine how they are fighting the war.
The President and the Republicans must be counting on a real miracle in Iraq before they face voters again in 2008.