Friday, January 05, 2007

Should We Send More Troops?

Democratic leadership in Congress today made it very clear that they did not want President Bush to send more troops to Iraq? How do you feel about this issue?

"We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq," said new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, the new Senate Majority Leader.

"It has to be significant and sustained. Otherwise do not do it," said Republican Senator John McCain.

In a recent post, entitled "Iraqis Must Stand Tall" I opined that at some point Iraqis must begin taking more responsibility for their own situation. In reading Bob Woodward's book State of Denial, I think it appears that this was George W. Bush's intent early on, but perhaps because the Bush Administration rushed pell mell into the attack before all the ducks were lined up, we're now about three years behind on that curve.

In a recent Time magazine article, an Iraqi Shia was quoted as being very frustrated because he would sometimes go for days without seeing American troops in his neighborhood, but whenever he told them he was about to start defend himself against Sunni aggressors who were coming ever closer, the American response was something like "Don't do that, because if you do we can't guarantee your safety."

Would more troops provide more safety and security to the Iraqi people? Or does it just open up a whole new can of worms?

Let me know what you think. And please vote in the Serving Iraq Opinion Poll on this subject as well.


Flag Gazer said...

My question is always - what kind of troops? As you know, the vast majority of troops are not combat troops, so having more support people sitting on big bases won't accomplish anything except in the numbers game.

I would like to see more special ops allowed to do their jobs.

Rich Warnick said...

Bush wants more combat soldiers in Baghdad, that's the bottom line. I think he's a believer in Frederick Kagan's fantasy "clear, hold and build" plan. That plan calls for a minimum 40,000 additional to secure the Iraqi capital, with more needed to clear the rest of the country after Baghdad is re-occupied.

The availability of combat and combat support units is sorely limited due to two wars and other ongoing deployments. The Pentagon says Bush can have 9,000 more trigger-pullers-- not much for a city of eight million people. Maybe a third of them would be out on patrol at any given time.

The Iraqi government (such as it is) wants Americans out of Baghdad before we start invading Shiite neighborhoods again. That means they are in conflict with Bush's plan.

I'm interested to see what Bush proposes and whether he still uses the word "victory" to describe his desired end state in Iraq.

Rich Warnick said...

For those who may not be familiar with the Frederick Kagan fantasy plan, it's called "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq."

Frank Staheli said...

Flag Gazer,

Good point. I'm not sure if I was considered a combat troop for part of the time I was over there--for a third of the time we just stood in guard towers to repel any invaders, which we seldom encountered.


It's so frustrating, having served there, realizing what a bunch of crap the Bush Administration has been in its conduct of the war. They rushed into it, and they dissed the Iraqi people. I've been reading (half done) "State of Denial" by Woodward, and the most frustrating thing so far is how dense Rumsfeld seems through it all. Jay Garner told him, the biggest mistakes you could make were to (1) De-Baathize, (2) dismiss the Iraqi military. Rumsfeld didn't listen, and Garner found out later that Rumsfeld didn't share the info with anyone else.

It's a bit late in the game to think that 40,000 more troops are going to make up for all the stupid mistakes the Bush people made.