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He kept saying that we needed more troops but he never gave factual data supporting that the number of troops was the problem, not something else.

So of course the Democrats criticized him for that...and it was a valid critiscism. Bush didn't support his new plan with real numbers.

And the Republicans supported Bush, of course....without explaining how more troops would help.

And then all that balogney he spat in the end...about the troops sacrificing so much and the families living without them on holidays, etc.....made me want to gag. It was pity central.

Discuss!! :)

Edited by Mimpy
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He kept saying that we needed more troops but he never gave factual data supporting that the number of troops was the problem, not something else.

So of course the Democrats criticized him for that...and it was a valid critiscism. Bush didn't support his new plan with real numbers.

And the Republicans supported Bush, of course....without explaining how more troops would help.

And then all that balogney he spat in the end...about the troops sacrificing so much and the families living without them on holidays, etc.....made me want to gag. It was pity central.

Discuss!! :)

Part of me thinks the plan will work, part of me thinks nothing short of nuking the whole country will work. His point about the fact that we don't maintain security in neighborhoods is perfectly valid, and increasing troop presence could possible be an effective remedy. That might be effective in a tactical sense, but in the broader, strategic sense, it will not save Iraq. No matter how much better the security situation gets in the immediate future, Iraq will, by virtue of its corrupt and theocratic constitution, devolve into another Islamist state, over time. It will not become the beacon of light and democracy that Bush wants it to.

As soon as that constitution was ratified, we lost the war in Iraq. Now we're in the sticky situation of what to do with our troops. I am opposed to withdrawal, because that just looks like we admit defeat. If we can temporarily stabilize Iraq, that is the solution I favor. Once sectarian violence has calmed down and the Iraqi government is more in control, then we leave. Then we can watch Iraq degenerate into Islamism again. But at least we would avoid the appearance of surrender.

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Ugh... this president makes me ill, just thinking about his imbecillic floundering..

Sure, we could fix the problem in Iraq with more troops--we just need to start having more babies and then have a mandatory draft of every child over age 16. When we send 14 million or so new troops over there, we will achieve security--for as long as they are there...

(All in levity, I wrote the above--I'm trying to illustrate how impractical a ground-based solution to this quagmire is. I'm in the camp that says "nuke 'em".

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I'm not quite as much of a hawk as I used to be. I can't think of any moral justification for nuking Iraq. Nuke Iran? No moral objections there. But we are not fighting the nation of Iraq and the Iraqi government does not (at the moment) support or harbor terrorists.

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the Iraqi government does not (at the moment) support or harbor terrorists.

I am worried that the al-Maliki Government is getting too cozy with al-Sadr's Shiite militia. If this is indeed true, I question if it is in our rational self interest to continue to aid the Iraqi government militarily.

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There were two good points in the speech; that we need more troops there, and that our troops have too many restrictions. Bush neglected to outline how these restrictions will be changed. Presumably he will do this in front of congress. I'm skeptical that his proposals will go as far as is needed.

In Colonel Tom Snodgrass's recent piece, he presents an equation for war. WAR = WILL + CAPABILITY (which he defined as Firepower + Logistics). He stated his belief that if either one of the components (will or capability) were removed, the war would be over. I agree with this.

I took Bush's proposal as a weak, feasible way to eliminate firepower. However, he leaves logistics (or re-supply) unaddressed, basically putting that problem in Iraq's lap. For Iraqis to successfully deal with this problem on their own is improbable, as it would mean cross-boarder action in three to four neighboring countries. If the US isn't willing to do this, Iraq isn't going to. Over time, the logistical apparatuses based in Iran, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia will re-supply firepower inside Iraq. This tells me that Bush's proposal will not work in the long run. It will only serve to make the US look good to those with no foresight while it retreats. It is a long-term recipe for disaster.

If Bush doesn't have the will or capability to do what is right, I think he should get out now and let the country go to hell. We shouldn't sacrafice our troops just to "look good." The enemy will see this as the weakness it is.

Edit - Changed Lebanon to Jordan, punctuation

Edited by FeatherFall
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I agree that, if used properly, more troops could help. However, the president has not mentioned anything about freeing the troops to fight the enemy. How is it that our soldiers are 'guilty' of shooting people in a war zone? If it isn't a crime, you can't be guilty of it.

If this is a 'War on Terror,' our troops need to have the freedom to fight it like a war.

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I didn't here the speech itself, only sound-bites. In summary it seems to have been about:

more troops

different approach

More troops could surely help, if we're following the right approach in the first place. I think it's near impossible for anyone except military experts to comment on the approximate numbers that are required.

The approach is the main change required. A key part of the right approach is to allow the Sunni's to see the possibility of an Iraq where they are not persecuted. This means, an approach that goes after the Shia militias with no concern for their government connections. It also means setting a path toward putting rights before democracy (in the Shia-domination sense).

The Shia thugs will not be controllable unless the more decent Shia folk stop looking the other way. Will Maliki and his buddies do this now, as they promise? I can't see any reason to believe they will. (The raid on an Iranian consulate shows that the US is willing to hit at Iranian sponsorship, but it's unclear that Maliki's assurances are anything more than talk.) As long as Sadr is free, I'm skeptical.

Sometimes, a small push in the right direction can start a trend, as various people start aligning themselves with the new direction and then push for more of the right kind of change. We would obviously have liked to see a bigger change: for instance, a president who can make the case against democracy and for individual rights, and so on. The question is: will the new approach be enough of a push in the right direction? The history of everything this administration has done (on Iraq, Iran, Social Security, Education, Medicare) shows us that their execution is usually less than their rhetoric. So, if we go by their record, this "new and improved" Iraq strategy will be too little too late.

Let's hope they surprise us.

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I watched the speech, desparately willing him to say something good. But every time he talked about how the Iraqis were going to do this, and the Iraqis were going to do that, he just lost all credibility in my eyes.

The only plan that will work is one that will work even if the Iraqis do nothing, or are even actively working against it from within. Anything that relies for it's success on them doing their part is not very confidence inspiring, to say the least.

Also I believe Kagan and Keane (the guys who came up with this plan) said that 30,000 would be the absolute minimum, and anything less would be worse than nothing.

rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/iraq/iraq010507_aei.rm

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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,11...2541457,00.html

New US general will copy British 'softly-softly' style

The new US ground commander picked by President Bush to direct the military “surge” into Iraq believes that the war can be won with a radical change of tactics: those used by the British in Malaya and Ulster.

Lieutenant-General David Petraeus, handed perhaps the toughest US military assignment since the Vietnam War — to stabilise Iraq and defeat its militias — is one of the Army’s premier intellectuals and a devoted student of counter-insurgency techniques used by the British and French during the last century.

General Petraeus, who has spent 2½ of the past 4 years in Iraq, has been one of the few officers advocating a troop surge into Baghdad. He believes that a new approach, based on soldiers living and patrolling amid the population and co-opting local leaders, can halt the slide into chaos.

Having co-authored the US military’s counter-insurgency manual, General Petraeus believes that only by combining military strength and sensitive interaction with locals can an insurgency be defeated. He has been influenced by a study of the British in Malaya during the 1950s by John Nagl, a Pentagon official.

Colonel Nagl compared Malaya to America’s failure in Vietnam, where the US Army approached the conflict as a conventional war. The British defeated the insurgency in Malaya, he writes, because of a “civil-military strategy based on intelligence derived from a supportive local population”.

A key lesson General Petraeus draws from Vietnam, compared to Malaya, is that the US Army is historically unprepared to fight insurgencies. The American military has overwhelming force for conventional combat but, without the British experience of empire, is intellectually unequipped to deal with the subtleties of guerrilla war.

The British, with their colonial history, are far better at combining local diplomacy with military force, a model General Petraeus wants to emulate.

Under his command, US forces can be expected to take up positions in Baghdad neighbourhoods, instead of limiting themselves to raids from large, fortified bases. Units will set up street patrols and strive to involve local religious and political leaders in reconstruction and employment projects, heavily funded from Washington.

General Petraeus, Commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq in 2003, is largely credited with being one of the only US officers who succeeded in bringing order to his region of Iraq by establishing a British colonial model of civil-military interaction.

In Mosul he entered an area with 110,000 former Iraqi Army soldiers and 20,000 Kurdish militiamen. But unlike the tactics in much of Iraq, General Petraeus took pride in conducting raids with minimum violence.

He introduced “cordon and knock”: Houses were surrounded, but not entered, and suspected insurgents were invited to turn themselves in. He allowed imams to inspect his jails and never blindfolded detainees.

He was obsessed by jump-starting the local economy and made sure that workers were paid on time. “The real goal is to create as many Iraqis as possible who feel they have a stake in the new Iraq,” he wrote soon after the invasion.

When General Petraeus and his “Screaming Eagles” left in spring 2004, Mosul was largely peaceful. But it later became violent, and General Petraeus is not without critics, who claim that his softly-softly tactics allowed insurgents to bide their time until he left.

Since 2005, General Petraeus, 54, has been teaching US commanders in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Essential viewing is Paul Greengrass’s 2002 film Bloody Sunday about the 1972 massacre in Londonderry, when British troops fired on civil rights marchers, killing 14. Two of the main messages General Petraeus draws from Britain’s Northern Ireland experience is how low-ranking soldiers, unaware of local cultural mores, can effect adversely the course of a war; and how intelligence on the ground is crucial.

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