“Go Big”…”Go Long”…or “Go Home”?


Today, during a news conference in Bogor, Indonesia, President Bush said, “I have not made any decisions about troop increases, troop decreases, and won’t until I hear from a variety of sources, including our own United States military.”

Yet just last Thursday, the Guardian reported that “President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make “a last big push” to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration’s internal deliberations.”

All of this decision-making for the President comes just as the Baker Commission is set to release its recommendations, which Bush’s comments about troop increases appear to mirror. You can read the leaked parts of their recs. here.
The Pentagon is also getting in on the planning action. Today, the Washington Post reports that the review of Iraq, commissioned by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter Pace, is looking at three options which have been deemed “Go Big,” “Go Long” or “Go Home.”

“Go Big” = a large increase in U.S. troops in Iraq to try to break the cycle of sectarian and insurgent violence. That option has been all but rejected by the study group, which concluded that there are not enough troops in the U.S. military and not enough effective Iraqi forces.

“Go Home” = a swift withdrawal of U.S. troops. It was rejected by the Pentagon group as likely to push Iraq directly into a full-blown and bloody civil war.

“Go Long” (Read: “stay the course“) = Planners envision [it] taking five to 10 more years to create a stable and competent Iraqi army.

The review team seems to be leaning toward an amalgam of “Go Big” and “Go Long,” which looks very similar to the initial recommendations of the Baker Commission, a sharp increase of 20,000- 30,000 troops and then a transition from the suppression of insurgent violence to training and advising the Iraqi Army. They call this one “Go Big But Short While Transitioning to Go Long.” I think someone is having fun over there.

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.