October 18, 2004

by Reb Yudel
Why does the president hate our soldiers?

The New Republic Online: Iraq'd

When a ground commander requests troops to carry out his mission, and is told that those troops are needed elsewhere, there are only two interpretations. One is that the commander's superiors determine that the request is unnecessary, and the commander in fact has what he needs. This is highly unlikely in this case, given Anaconda's tactical importance as the largest logistical base in Iraq. The attacks have gotten so bad that the cargo planes that fly in to resupply the base keep their engines running to avoid losing the aircraft to insurgent mortar fire. The idea that Hilman is blowing smoke when he says he needs additional forces just to protect his base is simply not likely to be true.

The other interpretation is that there aren't enough troops to enable the commander to fulfill his requirements. It's getting hard to deny that this is the case in Iraq. And it surely reflects frustration that Hilman is detailing his two rejections to a reporter. Which leads to further series of questions: Why is Hilman really being denied? How far up the chain are Hilman's requests flowing? Are commanders at Multinational Force-Iraq stymieing requests from ground commanders to preserve the Bush administration's fiction that there are enough troops in Iraq?

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