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The “surge” is to show Iran how tough the US still is: Gates

I could write about my thoughts on Bush’s incredible statement on 60 Minutes that the Iraqi’s should be grateful to the US, but I thought I’d focus on what new Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters today – basically, the Surge is designed to show Iran the US is still one tough dude:

Increased US military activity in the Gulf is aimed at Iran’s “very negative” behaviour, the Bush administration said today.
The defence secretary, Robert Gates, told reporters that the decision to deploy a Patriot missile battalion and a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf in conjunction with a “surge” of troops in Iraq was designed to show Iran that the US was not “overcommitted” in Iraq.

So this surge is all a game of brinksmanship with Iran, and this statement looks to me like the Administration is trying to get the US public used to the fact they may be going on another military adventure.

I like this comment I saw that summarize/interprets what Gates is saying:

Paraphrase: Just to prove that we had not yet put every available troop in Iraq, thus limiting our options to zero, we are going to put every available troop into Iraq, thus limiting our options to zero.

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3 comments to The “surge” is to show Iran how tough the US still is: Gates

  • lrC

    “Poor” overstates the problem. Recruiting has been a recognized difficulty since the turndown in 1998, and is recognized to be due to issues of which active operations are not the most important. Standards remain relatively high (they were raised very high when the army contracted significantly in the early 1990s) and the other economic prospects of potential recruits are excellent.

    But a “surge” is by definition a commitment in excess of sustainability (unsure whether the term is being misused in popular reportage right now). If a surge is truly being conducted, it should be expected to be of finite duration. The interesting question is what is being done with the surge, and Gates’s claim may just be an incidental bid to extract a bit of propaganda value.

  • This is all intended for the US domestic audience. It has no real value abroad.

    Troops levels are only being restored to what they were last year.

    It is well know that military recruitment in the US is poor, and they are only meeting targets by heavily reducing their recruitment targets.

    So in all this there’s no real deterent, nor any effective policy to save Iraq.

  • lrC

    Naval forces are easy to reposition. You give the order; the fleet changes course and is on its way somewhere else at 800+ km per day. A Patriot battalion seems an odd choice, but it represents a very select capability which is not needed for responses to most situations. Neither really represents a subtraction from options.

    The other side of the question is, what do they add? Both represent an addition to counterair capability, and the carrier group as a whole represents significant striking power. They would be helpful if one wanted to keep the Iranian air force from interfering with tanker traffic and oil installations in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, and to eliminate shore-based anti-shipping missile installations. They would thus be helpful to prevent a third party from executing air strikes against Iranian nuclear weapon facilities, or to prevent Iran from reacting against such strikes by punishing everyone else by targeting a significant part of the world’s oil supply.

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