Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Objective: Baghdad

We are going into Baghdad.

When I read that we and the Iraqis would commit 75,000 security personnel to securing Baghdad and stopping the enemy from sowing death and destruction in the capital, my first thought was that for a city of 6 million this is horribly insufficient. The standard formula indicates we'd need 120,000 security forces to equal 2% of the population to be secured.

But given that 70% of the city is Shia, can Sunnis be more than 20% assuming Kurds and others are part of the city, too? As I've remarked when looking at Iraq as a whole, you can judge force level requirements differently in Shia versus Sunni areas. Since the Sunnis are concentrated in neighborhoods west of the Tigris River, we won't need 2% everywhere.

Assuming 1.2 million Sunnis and 4.8 million non-Sunnis who don't need the same level of policing, if we commit to troops levels of 1% of the non-Sunni population, we'd need 48,000 security forces for the 4.8 million non-Sunni. This leaves 27,000 troops for the 1.2 million Sunnis. This troop level is 2.25% of the population.

Rough numbers, to be sure, but given that our military people aren't ignorant, I can only assume they've judged 75,000 to be enough troop density given the areas that need serious troop attention.

I don't know why we can't come up with these numbers given that we have close to 600,000 Iraqi and Coalition security personnel in Iraq.

And speaking of Baghdad, that's where the President was today.