Friday, June 24, 2005

Losing a Battalion size group US troops a month in Iraq

I watched the Senate Armed Forces Committee Report on C-Span, after I saw a diary at DailyKos. I took notes, noted what is relevant to me. Military family with 2 loved ones, Iraq Veterans, under orders and Stop Lossed for 2nd deployments to Iraq. My bias, so I listened with my own ear....

-- Sen. Jack Reed said "engaged in a very fierce fight that is taking roughly a battalion size group of Americans every month as casualties; killed, wounded, injured. "
(I wasn't exactly sure what the size of a battalion is; so asked via my daughter and her husband, active Army, Iraq veteran. That would be 4 companies; a company = approx 200. So 200 x 4 = 800 people)

Senate Armed Forces Committee Report; Thursday, June 23

Participants; Sen Warner presiding; Rumsfeld; Gen. Abizaid; Gen. Casey; Gen. Myers; Sen. Levin; Sen. McCain; Sen. Ted Kennedy; Sen. Reed; Sen Graham; Sen Clinton; Sen Bayh; Sen Collins; Sen Lieberman; Sen Ensign; Sen Byrd; Sen Talent; Sen Chambliss; Sen Dole

(Things I did Not know or knew and was reinforced)

-- new firefighting in Fallujah ... again.

-- General Myers said that he knows of no Reservist who has gone back for 2nd or 3rd deployment unless they have done so voluntarily.

-- exchange with Sen. McCain and Gen. Casey of concern that Syria is implicit in permitting, if not aiding 'foreigners' to cross Syrian borders into Iraq to participate in insurgency.

-- Sen. Jack Reed said "engaged in a very fierce fight that is taking roughly a battalion size group of Americans every month as casualties; killed, wounded, injured. "
(I wasn't exactly sure what the size of a battalion is; so asked via my daughter and her husband, active Army, Iraq veteran. That would be 4 companies; a company = 200. So 200 x 4 = 800 people)

-- Rumsfeld gets defensive, says we (he and admin) do care deeply about troops, idea of broken military is ridiculous, stories of undermet needs of troops just not true.

-- Sen Lindsey Graham, North Carolina, to Rumsfeld points out public support falling. Rumsfeld says he believes people will come to right decision over time and one can get seasick trying to follow polls. Sen. Graham reinforces his concern that in his state the support is decidedly falling. Rumsfeld gets reactive in his response. Sen Graham doesn't engage and asks instead of Gen Abizaid if concern of TET type offensive is possible.

-- General Casey then speaks and points out it sounds like there is belief that insurgent attacks increasing when in fact they are not; cites the high months relative to last few months to show it has decreased, not increased.

-- Sen Evan Bayh suggests we have some benchmarks in place to measure and define 'success' in Iraq. What objective criteria can we look to as benchmarks to evaluate our performance in Iraq?
Rumsfeld responds that there are benchmarks and would be happy to brief the committe on what those benchmarks are...

-- Sen Collins, Maine, addresses concern of overuse of National Guard, cites example of young woman (Sgt., helicopter mechanic) who has been deployed overseas 4 x in 10 yrs. Also talks about the 24 consecutive months use of Natl Guard. Suggests that in seeing problems with recruiting, likely will see problems also in retention.
Gen Myers then responds about Reserve Component and the efforts underfoot to restructure deployment use and that takes time. He explains have policy of being called up only one time and no repeat deployments (Reserve/Natl Guard) unless person volunteers for repeat deployment.

-- Sen Lieberman cites bible verses; expresses concern public reaching tipping point in opinion and do we have enough troops in Iraq to do the job?
Rumsfeld responds thinks people being pushed to tipping point, cites previous war conditions and opinions proffered then says it's up to the Generals the number of troops and he's complied with their assessment. Turns it over to the Generals.
Gen Abizaid says more troops doesn't necessarily indicate better success; can have too much of a footprint with too many troops.
Gen Casey says have enough troops today and if assesses needs more will ask and at elections (Iraq) asked for more and got them.

-- Sen Ensign asks a question of endangerment of our troops
Gen Abizaid responds that troops believe in the war they are fighting and are begining to ask if they have the support of our country for the war. Gen Abizaid says that it worries him that troops are asking that question. If military has confidence in the war, it is worrisome if this committee and this country does not share that confidence.

-- Sen Byrd chides Rumsfeld for 'lecturing' the committee and that he (Byrd) can't refute a sneer. Reminds that Senators represent the people and while may not like the questions of the committe, has responsibility to the people and ask the questions that the people ask of us. We didn't ask enough questions when we went into the war. Reminds of three separate arms of government and constitution. American people haven't been told the truth and reminds that they are elected and Rumsfeld not elected and to get off his high horse when you come here. Tired of Rumsfeld lectures. Talks about the budget and cost of war and it is not one time cost.

-- Sen Talent asks about 12 divisions being sent rather than 10 and wouldn't that offset need to use Reserve Component?
Gen Casey responds that Iraqi training forces standing their ground and fighting; that they have the resolve.
Rumsfeld says has been using effective techniques that have the effect of increase in size using skill-sets. This will all be explained in QDR.

-- Sen Chambliss talks about young captain graduated from Academy; known him all his life; deployed in original march to Baghdad and now 2nd deployment in Iraq. An email that he got from this captain about a month ago. List of all that is going well in Iraq for the people; equipment fine; humvees fine vehicles, only problem really is the car bombs.

-- Sen Dole inquires about the increase in Iraqis willing to report tips to tip hotline on insurgents.
Gen Casey says Iraqis also reporting weapons caches.
She asks question about how the reconstruction is going.
Rumsfeld; reconstruction, economic, and political all have to go forward together.
She asks about communication and translaters.
Gen Casey says making progress with translaters.

................. end

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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