Tom Ricks's Inbox

Sunday, February 18, 2007

In the February issue of Army magazine, Army Reserve Lt. Col. Craig T. Trebilcock, a veteran of the Iraq war, explains why he thinks the planned troop increase will backfire -- and blames it on the Bush administration.

"Our civilian leadership, desperately seeking to avoid the embarrassment of political defeat in Iraq, proposes to send in its military reserve, calling it 'a temporary surge' for political consumption. From a military operational standpoint this will enable us to kick in more doors, kill more bad guys and secure more territory -- in the short run. From the strategic political standpoint this will expose the inability of the weak Iraqi government to rule its own people, create more civilian casualties among an already embittered populace and likely become the final straw, rendering open domestic political opposition to our continued military presence in Iraq acceptable to a war-weary citizenry. In the end, by ignoring the cultural and internal political realities of Iraq in favor of a one-dimensional approach based upon military remedies, the civilian leadership of our military likely will win the battle and lose the war."

Tom Ricks is The Post's military correspondent. This feature aims to give readers a snapshot of the conversations about Iraq, Afghanistan and other matters that play out in Ricks's e-mail inbox. Have an interesting document? Send it to

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