Pentagon Looks Beyond the Surge
Posted on Mar 12, 2007
Military commanders have begun to develop a contingency plan for Iraq that envisions a drawdown of troops. The strategy is based in large part on past American machinations in El Salvador, and will focus on training locals rather than providing the main force.
Los Angeles Times:
American military planners have begun plotting a fallback strategy for Iraq that includes a gradual withdrawal of forces and a renewed emphasis on training Iraqi fighters in case the current troop buildup fails or is derailed by Congress.
Such a strategy, based in part on the U.S. experience in El Salvador in the 1980s, is still in the early planning stages and would be adjusted to fit the outcome of the current surge in troop levels, according to military officials and Pentagon consultants who spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing future plans.
But a drawdown of forces would be in line with comments to Congress by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates last month that if the “surge” fails, the backup plan would include moving troops “out of harm’s way.” Such a plan also would be close to recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, of which Gates was a member before his appointment as Defense Department chief.
A strategy following the El Salvador model would be a dramatic break from President Bush’s current policy of committing large numbers of U.S. troops to aggressive counterinsurgency tactics, but it has influential backers within the Pentagon.