The Pentagon has decided to take advantage of the winter silly season to begin the "surge" of troops in Iraq --
The 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team received orders today to deploy to Kuwait in early January to become the theater command’s “call forward” force, Defense Department officials announced today.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates approved the request from Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, yesterday, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters.
About 3,500 members of the “Falcon Brigade” headquarters will replace the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit as CENTCOM’s forward-deployed on-call force, ready to respond quickly to a full range of contingencies, he said.
Despite attempts to deny the obvious --
Officials emphasized that the deployment announcement does not indicate a surge and is not tied to any particular event.
the tell-tale sign of a change of plans --
The troops were recalled to Fort Bragg today, cutting their holiday leave short to prepare for the deployment. “Everybody left with the understanding that something like this could happen,” Earnhardt [public affairs officer] said.
It therefore seems that when Condi Rice sneered at nation building efforts under Bill Clinton by saying "we don't need the 82nd Airborne escorting kids to kindergarten", that included those troops getting to escort their own kids back to school in January.