Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Adding Up

With 27 million people there, critics of our force deployments in Iraq continue to assert we have too few troops to pacify the population. With a minimum of 2% needed, we should have 540,000 troops in Iraq. Strangely, some only like to count American forces. Why this is so confuses me. As if Saddam didn't pacify Iraq with only Iraqi forces, I might point out. We should count Iraqis, I think.

Let's cut out the purely Kurdish north and assume 3 million people there are guarded by local Pesh Merga which are never counted in the totals anyway.

So 24 million Iraqis in the non-Kurdish regions would need 480,000 by this crude measure, even ignoring the fact that we should judge numbers by local threat levels.

So (going by memory) 130,000 Americans plus 260,000 Iraqi army and police (going to 325,000) plus 20,000 Coalition troops plus 10,000 foreign contract security personnel add up to 420,000 right now. Not enough by the crude measure to maintain security, according to critics of force size. I think we have enough but no matter, let's press on.

But oh wait, what about the armed and uniformed Facilities Protection Service personnel that guard infrastrucure? Add in 150,000 here. Why that's 570,000 total security personnel inside Iraq. Comfortably above the 2% number (2.375% to be precise). I guess we have enough under definitions established by critics.

I had always assumed the FPS were included in the police category since in the past these guys were counted in the totals of forces fighting the insurgents and terrorists. Apparently not anymore.

As an aside, how can this security force have gone unmentioned for so long given the focus on numbers? If they didn't exist, police or army units would have to do the job they do, after all. They surely aren't as good as regular army but their mission is point defense, so they don't need to be as good.

Note: Yes, the Strategypage article that I cite for this number notes problems of death squads in the FPS. I'm not discounting that. But my point is that the number counters should use all the numbers.