Luck in Iraq


From the NY Times (via Drudge) comes a report that the Pentagon is working overtime to deal with what a spokesman called "the very dynamic situation" in Iraq:

The Pentagon is sending a retired four-star Army general to Iraq next week to conduct an unusual "open-ended" review of the military's entire Iraq policy, including troop levels, training programs for Iraqi security forces and the strategy for fighting the insurgency, senior Defense Department officials said Thursday.

The extraordinary leeway given to the highly regarded officer, Gen. Gary E. Luck, a former head of American forces in South Korea and currently a senior adviser to the military's Joint Forces Command, underscores the deep concern by senior Pentagon officials and top American commanders over the direction that the operation in Iraq is taking, and its broad ramifications for the military, said some members of Congress and military analysts.

In another sign that the Iraq campaign is forcing reassessments of Pentagon policies, Army officials are now considering whether to request that the temporary increase of 30,000 soldiers approved by Congress be made permanent. One senior Army official said Thursday that the increase is likely to be needed on a permanent basis if the service is to meet its global commitments—despite the additional cost of $3 billion per year.

Whole thing here.

Luck is, says the Times, "a revered figure among soldiers and a mentor to their officers."

While it seems clear that violence in Iraq is intensifying in preparation for the scheduled elections at the end of the month, it's not clear what might happen if they're postponed. Iraq's former security adviser, Muwafaq al-Roubaie, has told the BBC that to do so would create a "bloodbath." That story here.