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Clever Democrats?

9:07 PM, Nov 19, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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Here's a big thing many Americans wouldn't expect early on from Democrats: passing legislation to substantially enlarge the ground force. The Democratic leadership would enjoy strong bipartisan support for something that should have been done years ago. Just how bipartisan? Well, consider today's New York Times target=_blank>editorial:

But keeping the Army in its present straitjacket would bring bigger and more immediate problems. Even assuming an early exit from Iraq, the Army's overall authorized strength needs to be increased some 75,000 to 100,000 troops more than Mr. Rumsfeld had in mind for the next few years.

A force totaling 575,000 would permit the creation of two new divisions for peacekeeping and stabilization missions, a doubling of special operations forces and the addition of 10,000 to the military police to train and supplement local police forces. The Marine Corps, currently 175,000, needs to be expanded to at least 180,000 and shifted from long-term occupation duties toward its real vocation as a tactical assault force ready for rapid deployment.

The sooner Congress debates and sorts out the budget issues involved the better. Though, I seriously doubt they'll adopt the Times' funding proposals.