Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Troop Surge
All over the news recently has been the report that President Bush is going to call for a surge in the number of troops currently in Iraq, up to 20,000. Of course, all the liberal commentators seem to be automatically against it, while all the conservatives are automatically for it. While some might expect me to skew leftward on this, especially given my vocal opposition to the war, I have to admit that I really don't know what I think about the idea of sending more troops to Iraq. For me the most important question is, "Will it help save lives and end the war more quickly, or will it just make things worse and put more of our soldiers in harms way without achieving anything positive?" Frankly I don't have the knowledge or expertise to answer that question.

Of course, we should also weigh the monetary costs of sending additional troops. Already this war is consuming over 300 billion dollars per year that could be better spent on all the domestic programs over here that are being slashed for lack of funding. We might also want to consider whether adding more troops at this point could prolong the length of time we're there. If the goal is for the Iraq government to step up and replace our troops with their own forces, are we simply creating a culture of dependency by not scaling back our operations and forcing them to step up? (And how long does it take to train an army anyway? We've been at this for several years now. Where are all the Iraqi troops that are supposed to be taking over from us?)

And I wonder whether at this point any amount of troops would make a difference, considering that we are no longer fighting "insurgents", but instead we are caught in the middle of a civil war. What good will it do for us to send more troops to stand as targets for both the Sunni and the Shiite to shoot at? What are we trying to accomplish anymore anyway? I think Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) spoke wisely when he said of the current situation, "The problem is a diplomatic problem that requires a diplomatic solution. Until that's achieved no physical solution is going to do any good." In other words, until we can figure out a way for Sunni and Shiites to coexist within Iraq and stop fighting each other and us, no amount of troops is going to be able to stop the fighting for very long.

But that's just my .02
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posted by Mike Clawson at 3:05 PM | Permalink |


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