We Need More Troops in Iraq?

(See here) a piece written by Senator Joseph Lieberman (Dem - Connecticut) that puts forth strong components of the argument in favor of increasing our troop levels in Iraq.

First let me say that I respect Joe's opinion. While I am not a resident of Connecticut, I did strongly support Joe in his successful reelection campaign. Had I been a resident of Connecticut, I certainly would have voted for him.

However I do not always agree with everything Joe stands for, and increasing our levels of troops in Iraq is one area where I fairly strongly disagree with him.

What Joe leaves out is that, while he argues for assisting Iraqis in establishing a democratic government, the overwhelming majority of the citizens that would cast their ballots in democratic Iraqi elections want the US out of their country. Heck, a slimmer, yet still solid, majority even say it is OK for Iraqis to kill American troops.

Joe states that he thinks the war is winnable. Just what would he define as "victory" and how would he go about obtaining this victory? Well let me quote him:
To turn around the crisis we need to send more American troops while we also train more Iraqi troops and strengthen the moderate political forces in the national government.

Got that? We need to not only achieve a military victory, we have to obtain a political victory as well. It would not be enough to calm things down so that a democratic government can rule, we also have to strengthen moderate political forces. Excuse me Joe, we have tried that and it has not worked. Iraqi citizens have not shown a willingness to vote for the types of people that you (or the majority of the rest of us) would support.

Now I am not exactly one who is in favor of cutting and running. I too fear the possibilities that defeat would bring about. However I seem to be in minority here in America. The tide of public opinion is rapidly turning against the war. Those who battle against us in Iraq can read the news just as well as I can. They too will realize that any increase in American troop levels are only going to be temporary. That all they have to do is not give up, bide their time, and troop levels are going to fall. Any positive changes brought about by the increased troop levels would only be temporary and would be apt to evaporate once the troop levels are decreased.

Long term troop increases are not going to happen. The American electorate voted for change when they went to the polls this past November. What kind of change are they going to see? Well Dubyah is supposedly seriously considering raising our level of involvement in Iraq. While this might make Joseph Lieberman happy, it is not going to result in anything near to what Joe would call victory. The number of troops being considered, and the increased effort this would signal, would be like throwing pebbles into the ocean. Not even a large splash and barely discernible ripples in the waves created by the aspirations of the various forces engaged in Iraq.

I still support some version of what Senator Biden (Dem - Delaware) has proposed. Some method of allowing competing forces, those that are willing to resort to violence, to fight it out while American forces remain unengaged. Once one side or the other emerges victorious from the carnage that will result, we will know who to deal with. Perhaps if either side screams for mercy we could intervene, but not until they scream so loudly that it is obvious that they will no longer target our troops while we try and protect them. I certainly feel we should already try our best to protect those portions of Iraqi society (such as the Kurds) that have shown a reluctance to resort to violence.

Should we precipitously withdraw from Iraq? Perhaps not. However we need to allow militants within Iraq to fight it out. They are itching for bloodshed, and we should not shed the blood of our own troops while trying to keep the militant forces from engaging each other.

There is more wisdom and vision in this plan then Joseph Lieberman's "pie in the sky" proposal to increase troop levels to obtain what he would describe as victory. Joe is never going to be happy with the results we could realistically be expected to obtain, so we'd NEVER withdraw, and we would have to be willing to suffer casualties to our troops so far into the future it might as well be described as eternity.

This past November, the American electorate signalled their desire for change. I do not think that Joseph Lieberman's proposes, and what George Dubyah Bush is apt to do, is what they had in mind. The American public voted AGAINST "stay the course", and Joseph would not only refuse to change our bearing, he would shovel more coal to feed the boilers while remaining on our current course.

I'm waiting to hear what our President has to say about it. My prediction is that I am going to be disappointed in what I hear. But what the heck, I spoke out against invading Iraq in the first place and I was disappointed back then as well. I'm starting to get a thick skin. My prediction? George is going to signal some type of increased effort to turn the tide in Iraq. He is not going to engage in any change that will yield anything more then a temporary delay in the outcome.

What George Dubyah Bush is going to announce in his much anticipated speech might make Joseph Lieberman happy, but I am going to be left shaking my head. That's my prediction.


Blogger Michael said...

I do not claim to be a military tactician but but it seems clear to almost everyone that the War in Iraq is unwinnable.

The current "surge" in American troops brings US troop levels to what it was ? in early 2006. As I recall, the US was not doing palpably better then.

I think that the belief that this increase in troop levels will have any major strategic or political effect is ludicrous. To make a real difference in the security situation in Iraq would require a larger military escalation than what I believe the United States is now capable of.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it seems to me this "surge" is more about politics than military tactics. The goal? That the United States will not have to withdraw within Bush's term.


2/03/2007 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger Little David said...

Amongst the reasons I was against he invasion of Iraq in the first place was that I feared that our involvement might have led to an even worse result then our efforts yielded.

I am grateful that my worst fears turned out to not be warranted. However, even without the result of the "worst case scenario" it does appear that our involvement has been folly.

Perhaps with one last strong push, we can motivate the militant forces within Iraq to come to terms with "other" militant forces within Iraq.

While I am still in favor of "redeployment" of American forces to neutral grounds to allow militant forces within Iraq to fight it out, this redeployment of forces would not be without understanding.

America still would retain the right to kick over the game board if that which resulted was not something we found acceptable. For example. If the forces that emerged victorious from the conflict dared to think they had vanquished the "damn Yankees" and could do whatever they wanted, we could resurrect the vanquished internal forces that would now be reasonable to American interests. We could lead them to victory at the point of, and with follow on support, from the proven military prowess of the American warrior.

Of course, the militants could still engage in Dubyah's vision of democracy for their nation. But if they refuse Dubyah's vision, it does not mean America must settle for their vision while they insist on being unreasonable.

My vision? America withdraws to see if Iraqi forces insist on mayhem or can sort it out. Even if mayhem results, we can once again engage if the result is unacceptable.

No one can rule in Iraq without American acceptance of the results. The results can either be Democracy, or an acceptable rule of militancy that is acceptable to dominant American military forces.

Democracy is starting to sound better and better isn't it?

2/03/2007 12:19:00 PM  

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