TROOP STRENGTH IN IRAQ….I’ve seen this a bunch of times before, but here is Donald Rumsfeld yet again on the subject of troop strength in Iraq:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today that there were no immediate plans to increase the number of United States troops in Iraq. But he said that the American commanders there would get more soldiers if they asked for them.

“They will decide what they need, and they will get what they need,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. “At the present time, they’ve announced no change in their plans. But they could make such a request at any time.”

Does anyone actually believe this? I mean, it was only a year ago that the Army Chief of Staff, presumably reflecting the view of top Army brass, said we would need “several hundred thousand” troops to successfully occupy Iraq. Today we have only 135,000. (Plus a few, um, contractors, of course.)

So: a year ago the top brass thought we needed several hundred thousand troops in Iraq, and since the events of the past nine months have not exactly gone smoothly it seems likely that the top brass have maintained that belief all along. Yet Rumsfeld continues to propagate this fiction that current troop strength is exactly what the Army wants and all they have to do is pipe up if they want more. Why does the press let him get away with this stuff?