Pentagon memo predicts 10,000 or more American soldiers could die in Iraq by 2008

Pentagon planners this week warned President George W. Bush that his “troop surge” plan could double U.S. casualties in Iraq in the coming year and result in 10,000 or more American deaths by the end of 2008.

011207irag.jpgIn a classified assessment memo, military experts predicted violence against U.S. troops will increase “at a sustained pace” and concluded that increasing the use of soldiers for house to house searches in Baghdad will “dramatically alter” the “ratio of casualties to actions” in that civil-war torn city, says a military source familiar with the memo.

The Pentagon report admitted battle weary soldiers are more prone to mistakes that lead to casualties and noted that military personnel sent to Iraq for third and possibly fourth tours increase the odds that those soldiers will become casualties of war.

The memo concluded that American military deaths could top 6,000 by the end of 2007 and exceed 10,000 or more in 2008 with more than 100,000 wounded and/or maimed for life.

In an appearance before the Senate Armed Services committee Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice refused to provide an estimate of U.S. casualties, saying such estimates are not possible but the Pentagon assessment had been delivered to the White House on Tuesday, two days before her testimony.

Military planners, as a matter of course, prepare casualty estimates as part of any action.

Senators from both sides of the aisle told Rice they did not believe her testimony, saying too many Bush administration officials have lied to Congress too many times.

The casualty assessment comes as the Pentagon abandons its limit on the time a citizen-soldier can be required to serve on active duty, officials said Thursday, a major change that reflects an Army stretched thin by longer-than-expected combat in Iraq.

The day after President Bush announced his plan for a deeper U.S. military commitment in Iraq, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the change in reserve policy would have been made anyway because active-duty troops already were getting too little time between their combat tours.

The Pentagon also announced it is proposing to Congress that the size of the Army be increased by 65,000, to 547,000 and that the Marine Corps, the smallest of the services, grow by 27,000, to 202,000, over the next five years. No cost estimate was provided, but officials said it would be at least several billion dollars.

Until now, the Pentagon’s policy on the Guard or Reserve was that members’ cumulative time on active duty for the Iraq or Afghan wars could not exceed 24 months. That cumulative limit is now lifted; the remaining limit is on the length of any single mobilization, which may not exceed 24 consecutive months, Pace said.

In other words, a citizen-soldier could be mobilized for a 24-month stretch in Iraq or Afghanistan, then demobilized and allowed to return to civilian life, only to be mobilized a second time for as much as an additional 24 months. In practice, Pace said, the Pentagon intends to limit all future mobilizations to 12 months.

Members of the Guard combat brigades that have served in Iraq in recent years spent 18 months on active duty — about six months in pre-deployment training in the United States, followed by about 12 months in Iraq. Under the old policy, they could not be sent back to Iraq because their cumulative time on active duty would exceed 24 months. Now that cumulative limit has been lifted, giving the Pentagon more flexibility.

A senior U.S. military official who briefed reporters Thursday on Iraq-related developments said that by next January, the Pentagon “probably will be calling again” on National Guard combat brigades that previously served yearlong tours in Iraq. Under Pentagon ground rules, the official could not be further identified.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, appearing with Pace, announced several other changes in Guard and Reserve policy:

  • Although the Pentagon’s goal is to mobilize Guard and Reserve units no more frequently than one year out of six, the demands of wartime will require calling up some units more often than that. They provided no details on how many units would be remobilized at the faster pace or when that would begin to happen. Army officials had been saying for some time that more frequent mobilizations were necessary because the active-duty force is being stretched too thin. Gates’ announcement is the first confirmation of the change.
  • To allow for more cohesion among Guard and Reserve units sent into combat, they will be deployed as whole units, rather than as partial units or as individuals plugged into a unit they do not normally train with.
  • Extra pay will be provided for Guard and Reserve troops who are required to mobilize more than once in six years; active-duty troops who get less than two years between overseas deployments also will get extra pay. Details were not provided.
  • Military commanders will review their administration of a hardship waiver program “to ensure that they have properly taken into account exceptional circumstances facing military families of deployed service members.”

As part of Bush’s plan for boosting U.S. troop strength in Iraq, a brigade of National Guard soldiers from Minnesota will have its yearlong tour in Iraq extended by 125 days, to the end of July, and a Patriot missile battalion will be sent to the Persian Gulf next month, the Army said Thursday.

Maj. Randy Taylor, a spokesman for the 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, at Fort Bliss, Texas, said the Patriot unit was aware of the announced deployment. He said no formal order had been received Thursday.

The dispatching of a Patriot missile battery, capable of defending against shorter-range ballistic missile attacks, appeared linked to Bush’s announcement Wednesday that he ordered an aircraft carrier strike group to the Middle East, which would be in easy reach of Iran, whose nuclear program is a U.S. concern.

Navy officials said the carrier heading to the Gulf region is the USS John C. Stennis, which previously had been in line to deploy to the Pacific. It was not clear Thursday how the Pentagon intended to compensate in the Pacific for the absence of the Stennis in that region, where a chief worry is North Korea.

The Marines announced that two infantry units — the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, and the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment — will stay in Iraq 60 to 90 days longer than scheduled. That will enable the Marines to have a total of eight infantry battalions in western Anbar province, instead of the current six, by February. Once the 60- to 90-day extension is over, an additional two battalions will be sent in early from their U.S. bases.

Also, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which combines infantry with a helicopter squadron and a logistics battalion, totaling about 2,200 Marines, will stay in Anbar for 45 more days.

Those extensions conform with Bush’s announcement that he was ordering 4,000 more Marines to Anbar.

(This article includes information from The Associated Press)


  1. Ralph Long

    So why doesn’t someone take
    that looney toons mental
    midget Democrat Speaker
    Grannie Nancy Pelosi Loser
    & Wishy Washy Wimpy Democrat
    Senate Majority Leader
    Harebrain Harry Reid to go
    see the remains of our US
    troops flag drapped coffins
    coming back from Iraq so
    that braindead pair of idiots will get off their
    butts and Impeach George W Bush & Dick Cheney or we
    find someway to put the fear of God into Pelosi &
    Reid & the Gutless Congress
    Until they do so now then?
    Or will take 55,000 More
    Dead US TRoops To Do It Just
    Like The Viet Nam War? I am
    Begining To Think Pelosi &
    Reid Along With Bush &
    Cheney Are As Big Of Enemies
    As Osama bin Laden & Al_Qeada nowdays!

  2. By predicting 10,000 American troops killed by the surge, the leaked military reports are going to make it look like a success when only 800 or so are killed this year, or the usual amount. We have had that many troops in Iraq before and about one American troop per day was killed. The reports were obviously leaked on purpose to lower expectations for the surge so that it can be called a success.

  3. caribou.blu

    Martin K. I certainly understand how you feel and agree with you. Imagine OUR horror to see that these things are done in OUR name by OUR country. We who reject facism and tyrany are also horrified to see what is happening in this country and what it is doing abroad. Can you imagine the horror we feel? 700,000 dead Iraqis and at least double the reported American dead. For what? Oil and empire? I understand how a country like Norway feels because I feel much the same. The majority of US citizens finally voted AGAINST this in the last election. They finally saw thru the lies and propaganda. But it matters not at all what citizens vote for here. It matters not at all.

    Have you been here in the last 15 to 20 years? If so you will have seen the news is controlled and gets more so all the time. The news here is propaganda, entertainment and weather. It is nothing – and that is what the so- called lesdership want. This is why we turn to sources like CHB. Without these fringe news sources we would hear and know only the pap they want to feed us to keep us quiet so they may continue with their agenda.
    This is, at least in part, why it took so long for the US public to partially wake up to the lies. Many are still unaware and confused by the propaganda. I wish I knew how to wake them up to the insanity so we can stop it.

  4. Donna Hughes

    Martin K: I can’t say that I blame you for your feelings, but Bush and his toadies don’t do this crap in MY name! I didn’t vote for them. I wrote every representative I could think of in DC when the subject of invading Iraq came up that they must be crazy! I only regret that I didn’t take to the streets with those who demonstrated against the war. I couldn’t believe that there were enough lamebrains out there to re-elect the bastard in ’04!

  5. Martin K

    David Williams: I am sorry to say so, but from a European (Norwegian) point of view, you are fast becoming a fascist state, ruled according to the führer principle. Ever since you legalized the kidnapping of foreign citizens on foreign soil and their subsequent eternal imprisonment and torture at will, you have been so. The world loathes you. Sorry, but when I hear american spoken in my home city today (Oslo) , its like hearing German must have been in 37.

  6. David Williams

    When we passed the horrid number of 3000 killed at the end of December, I really expected a large response of outrage from the citizens of our country.Saddam’s hurried execution overshadowed all the news for several days(conspiracy theories anyone?).And of course,the holiday season was winding down at the same time.Most people’s minds are on other things.Modern life is just so frenetic and complicated,RIGHT??

    W and his miserable enablers have done everything in their power to minimize the effects of their war on we ,the easily duped,people.No newscasts showing the flag draped coffins of the returning dead, no tax increases to remind us that war is the most expensive of government’s endeavors, and no draft to remind people that your son or my daughter might just be jerked from their comfortable lives and forced into a waking nightmare that could possibly end with them returning in a flag draped coffin that no one will see.

    Out of sight…out of mind seems to be the PR model for these would be masters of the universe,these insulated occupiers of the People’s House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave….And so far,it has worked quite well.

    Regular readers and posters of CHB are among the minority of Americans that DO notice and care about the things that politicians do that affect us as a people,as a nation,and as a larger world community.So we faithfully read the news stories,the opinions, and of course, Doug’s marvelous rants.We take the time to post our thoughts to one another and offer each other positive reenforcement and a toch of community sanity in a world that is increasingly insane and divided, and so very ugly.
    Even though we do all in our power to dig beneath and beyond the pablum laced crap the MSM spoonfeeds us as news each day, we feel intense frustation and anger.We can not understand why everybody is not on the same page with us. We feel a weird sense of almost sick wonderment with every new poll,that shows us that no matter what is happening,there are about a third of our countrymen who still approve of W and his horrific policies.So we post,and we rant.WE read each other,s posts and each other’s rants and for a minute or two we feel better, or at least a little less alone in our frustration.And that is a good thing.

    But how,and I’m asking for help here,how do we get other people to get there heads out of their asses,to put as much effort into learning about issues that are a matter of life and death as they put into trying to learn about some celebrity’s love life.
    On another thread a couple of days ago, a poster that signs himself”whatever” made a great observation.He said that as long as the powers that be,give us a minimum of comfort (things,diversions,material goodies)we as a nation will just continue to take the bribe.(my apologies to “whatever”for my liberal embellishment of his statement).
    Will we be any more unified in our anger when we have lost 6000? 10,000? 20’000? Will each of us have to suffer the heartbreak of a forever empty seat at the dinner table before we really begin to feel the rightous outrage that we should feel anyway,right now,this very day.

    We put a fool in charge of the largest killing machine on earth.W is conducting the PR of this war the same way as he has lived his life.He has never really been touched by any of the hardships that face less fortunate born folk.He has never been held accountable for any mistake that he has ever made.Is it any wonder that he would continue as he always has?

    3000….To W just a number.10,000…just a bigger number.Are we as a nation, not any better than that? Aren’t we?Please somebody out there,tell me we are.
    David Williams

  7. Dr. Anthony Absaroke

    My goodness! Doesn’t anyone realize we are all supposed to sacrifice ourselves for the good of capitalist elites? Quit your bitching- we’re all just slaves on the plantation and supposed to do what the bossman says. Or else… War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength, Freedom is Slavery

  8. Barbara

    I am is getting physically sick looking at these numbers of potential deaths in Iraq. If someone can tell me what the rational reason is for these deaths, I would like to hear it.

  9. dave

    Does anyone remember the assurances that we would not occupy the country?

    Does anyone remember the statements that this had nothing to do with oil?

    For every death there are five to ten maimed. Is anyone prepared to give these people a lifetime of care?

    Is it worth it? This is not going to solve anything. The Shittes are aligned with the Iranians. The Sunnis are aligned with the Saudis. And, the Kurds are aligned with themselves.

  10. Sandy Price

    Liberty. Our boys volunteered to fight against the nation who we were told attacked us on 9/11. Iraq did not do this and yet our kids are being sent to Baghdad and dying.

    I remember the Monday after Pearl Harbor and everyone was down town lining up to fight for America. My uncle was only 16 and he got a note from his mother to let him enlist. That was a different time and a different war. We have no leadership at this time. Our boys are dying for no reason other than oil.

  11. Reporters at the Washington Post and others caught a hint in Bush’s speech about plans for military action against Iran and Syria. No one knows what this desperate man willd, and it is frightening. I think that it is vitally important that the Congress reclaim its Constitutional responsibility as the only agency empowered by the COnstitution to declare war. A resolution should be passed imediately prohibiting the president from ordering any military action against any other nation without a formal declaration of war by the Congress. Then the Jount Chiefs of Staff should be served with a copy of the resolution and a statement that any order from the White House to the contrary would be an illegal order, and must be disobeyed. We all have a responsibility to prevent this tyrant of a president from further sfredding the Constitution.

  12. LlbertyRising

    10,000 dead? Well, they DID volunteer. So no tears here.

    How many times that number of Iraqi deaths are they responsible for?

    Sure, they’ve been lied to. Sure, they checked any conscience at the recruiting door. Sure, their parents totally failed in their duty to raise responsible, moral citizens.

    They are still past the age of reason and should have known that if you go into someone else’s home with guns blazing, they’re likely to shoot back.

    Our son is five. We won’t be tapping the public teat for college funding, so he won’t even register with selective service. And we are sure as hell raising him to know better than get involved with a criminal gang, whether its on the streets of Chicago or the US Army.

  13. George

    Ouch, this is rough. Have son in Guard who has gone twice.

    I would get a commission and go as a medical officer, but am a foreign medical graduate the AMA blocked from a license.

    Seems the needs of the service has not extended to medical lobby that block US citizens who earned medical degrees abroad for economic protection purposes.

    If it gets rough enough, the obstruction of licensing for economic protection would be a good place to start to free up doctors who can serve.

  14. Nigel

    What about the wounded? And how many will be poly trama, those would have died except for extraordinary measures? If this was Vietnam, we would probably have had at least twice the number of dead that we have in Iraq. W – Mission Accomplished.

    The only thing we can hope for is that he will cost Dad and his friends so much money that he will also bankrupt them.

  15. Colleen

    Instead of granting illegal’s amnesty like Kennedy and Reid want to do, I think they should be made to join the military so they can fight for the country that they’re demanding to be allowed to live in with the same rights American born ppl have. While we’re at it, take the gang bangers too, they’re already warring in the streets of our beloved country, send them over to Iraq and let them see what a real war is like, it’s evident that they want to fight so give them the chance. Round them all up and ship them over, in turn our streets will be much safer and they will be doing what they love.