A PIECE THAT NEEDED TO BE WRITTEN. Many, including this blog, have criticized Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol for their recent proposal to continue and expand the American military presence in Iraq. Some raised the question of whether there are actually troops available to fulfill that mission. Now, two experts have definitely answered that question. Surprise! The answer is no.

Daniel Benjamin and Mich�le A. Flournoy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies write that:

According to in-house assessments, fully two-thirds of the Army's operating force, both active and reserve, is now reporting in as "unready"�that is, they lack the equipment, people, or training they need to execute their assigned missions. Not a single one of the Army's Brigade Combat Teams�its core fighting units�currently in the United States is ready to deploy.... In terms of ground-force readiness, the United States is in worse shape than at any time since the aftermath of Vietnam

While this renders the debate over more troops in Iraq moot, it raises a more disturbing question: How exactly would the United States respond to a military crisis in another part of the world?

Also, on a tangential note, doesn't it seem like this issue would be the logical talking point for congressional Democratic candidates struggling to frame redeployment as the more security-conscious position?

--Ben Adler

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