Top military officials are quietly setting their post-pullout strategy, reports Thomas Ricks in today's Post, and they're readying to keep in place a long-term, mid-size force. The new plan requires upwards of 40,000 American troops to stay in the country, with half dedicated to security, a quarter to training, and another quarter to logistics, in addition to a small special ops counterterrorism force.
The 40K plan is intended to play to a wide audience: from the government, which still seeks protection from foreign invasion, to Shiite radicals like Moqtada al-Sadr, who feel threatened by the continued Sunni insurgency. That reflects the wiser, more tempered military that’s offering up the strategy, say many officials. “There's a greater appreciation for complexity," says one Baghdad-based officer.