View Full Version : Securing Baghdad is a Numbers Game

05-24-2006, 07:47 AM
24 May Los Angeles Times commentary - Securing Baghdad is a Numbers Game (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-boot24may24,0,6357332.column?coll=la-news-comment-opinions) by Max Boot.

The U.S. needs at least three more brigades in Iraq's capital...

The inauguration of a coalition government suggests that the situation in Iraq is not as gloomy as some opponents of the war claim. But the aftermath also shows that the situation is not as sunny as some supporters of the war believe...

Supporters of the war note that much of the violence in Iraq is confined to four of 18 provinces. True. But you can't ignore the continuing instability in the capital. Baghdad is much more important to Iraq than Washington is to the United States. With at least 6 million residents, it has a quarter of the country's population, and it is not only the political capital but the center of media, business and culture...

The pacification of Tall Afar, a town of at least 150,000, required 3,800 American and 5,000 Iraqi soldiers. That's a ratio of one American per 40 civilians. In Baghdad, there are currently three American combat brigades, or about 8,600 troops. That's a ratio of one American per 698 civilians. No wonder the capital is so unsafe.

Even if you add in Iraqi security forces about 9,000 Iraqi soldiers and 12,000 national police officers are deployed in Baghdad there is still a woeful shortage of security. The problem is compounded by the fact that many of the uniformed Iraqis belong to political militias, criminal gangs or insurgent groups. Residents don't know whom to trust.

To gain control of the situation, an American officer who has served in Baghdad suggested to me the need to deploy at least 35,000 U.S. troops (six brigade combat teams, plus support personnel), two Iraqi army divisions (20,000 men), and 30,000 competent Iraqi police officers. That would give you a total of 85,000 security personnel, or one per 71 inhabitants still lower than the ratio in Tall Afar but much higher than it is today...

Merv Benson
05-24-2006, 06:33 PM
The alternative is to bring in more trained Iraqi troops. In fact that is probably the best solution and the one that Gen. Abizaid is working toward. The Iraqi troops are better at communicating with the residents of Baghdad and seeing what is out of place. It is easier for them to get real time tips and act on them. Strategy Page (http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htterr/articles/20060524.aspx) describes how it works.

From PrairiePundit (http://prairiepundit.blogspot.com/).

One example of how force to space ratios work is how police can put enough force on a particular block to make it impossible for certain activity to take place such as selling drugs or sexual favors. Iraqi troops would be significantly more effective in this enviroment for the reasons stated.

05-24-2006, 11:00 PM
There probably aren't 30,000 capable police officers in the country, let alone 30,000 to spare for Baghdad. With the necessity for those kinds of numbers, it'll be years before Baghdad is secure. On the other hand, the administration has shown no signs of going wobbly on this one so there does appear to be some time to work with.

05-25-2006, 12:17 AM
This is exactly what we did in UCLA (upper corner lower alabama). It was done under a federal grant that paid for officer overtime called "weed and seed" The ROT stood for" Retake Our Turff" and that is what we did. It is almost exclusively based on officers dominating an area. Force to space. Once we were on the ground we stayed!!!until it was done. A key factor of success we found out from many mistakes was the stay behind strategy. It was like my old unit motto in the 82nd. Strike and Hold!!!!!! Once you get them out of an area don't let the bastards back in. I am getting excited now. Time all those surgents of all kinds to get slapout of Iraq.