August 16, 2006
More Troops Needed To Secure Baghdad?

Both U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and her GOP challenger Mike McGavick are engaging in some fancy footwork lately on Iraq, to woo suburban Seattle and other swing voters. The Seattle Times today urges both to reveal more about whether our decision to invade Iraq was right, and what lessons they've learned. But what to actually do now in Iraq is paramount. Charles Krauthamer notes a hasty retreat is stupid, and inimical to Democrats. Conservative Rich Lowry says boost troop strength to secure chaotic Baghdad, as a crucial next step. He adds Bush's oft-stated resolve to win isn't nearly enough; policy is drifting badly; and Vietnam parallels ARE becoming apparent. In the Weekly Standard, former Wall Street Journal editorial board member and current L.A. Times columnist Max Boot ultimately favors increased troops deployed to Baghdad, as well. But, he says U.S. forces have too often proved incapable of winning Iraqi hearts and minds and that a troop drawdown sooner rather than later is another option - with our personnel serving more in an advisory role to the Iraqi military. Top military brass see big cultural and tactical changes needed in U.S. troop training for guerilla conflicts such as Iraq. Please read the links fully, and discuss.

UPDATE, 8/17/06: Here's an extended Q&A on Iraq with Cantwell and McGavick, from today's Seattle Times.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at August 16, 2006 10:26 AM | Email This
Comments
1. The only comparison to vietnam that can truly be made is the following:

The North Vietnamese were supported by China both finacially and militarily.

The Insurgents in Iraq are supported by Iran both finacially and militarily.

To end the insurgency in Iraq you need to deal with Iran plain and simple. While serving in Iraq, at a checkpoint, we had an Iraq man approach us and gave us an inch thick stack of notes written in Farsi. He went on to tell us that his brother in law was part of the Mahdi Malitia and would take him around to all their ammo depots and drop sites to brag. What was in the notes that this Iraqi citizen (who by the way was Shite) gave us was a list of what waepons they had, the quantity of the weapons, the location of the weapons, the amount of money the milita had and some of the routes that Iran used to smuggle all this stuff into the country. Regardless of whether or not you feel it was right to go into Iraq pulling out would be a mistake. If we pull out of Iraq now we will be giving that country over to Iran on a silver platter. I say we should beef up our troops in Iraq and in Afghansistan so as to be able to have a two front invasion if Iran refuses to stop trying to build nukes and if they dont knock of their interference with the fledgeling democracies in both Iraq and Lebanon.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on August 16, 2006 10:27 AM
2. TrueSoldier-

Agree with you 100%. Thanks for serving.

Posted by: Jeffro on August 16, 2006 10:32 AM
3. Iran sure stirs up discontent around these parts, don't they?

First, they supply Hezbollah. Second, they thumb their noses at the UN on nuclear proliferation.

Third, they supply the alSadr group that Iraq was afraid to squelch a year or two ago.

Now, fourth, they are bombing north Iraq with the Turks.

The problem with our military is they are slow to adapt. It gets real, real frustrating. The old saying is "Hurry up and Wait".

Posted by: swatter on August 16, 2006 10:34 AM
4. I think it's useful in this discussion to remember that you have to be over 70 years old to remember the last time the United States won a war. We won it by throwing everything we had at the bad guys, which included considerable sacrifice by U.S. civilians.

Today's Americans see war through the lens of Vietnam, which surely explains the media and the left's incessant use of the term "quagmire" to describe the Iraq war. I don't think it's unfair to say that these people wanted Iraq to be a "quagmire" from day we invaded. Their moral equivalance even prevents us from a coherent identification of who the bad guys are.

I agree with TrueSoldier that to pull out would play directly into the hands of Iran. The big question however is, given the constant pessimism of the hand-wringing left and the left wing media do we as a country have the will to win this war?

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on August 16, 2006 10:51 AM
5. Bill, binLaden says no to your question.

And to add to the "quagmire" topic, our current liberals say it is a quagmire if the strategy of our enemies change and we get delayed for a couple of days.

Posted by: swatter on August 16, 2006 11:39 AM
6. I don't know if more troops are needed but what is needed is for the President and our military leaders to be sent a copy of "Band of Brothers" and start fighting this war the way it should be fought - all out like we did in WWII.

Carpet bomb the cities where they insurgents are. Torture our prisoners for information. War is Hell but the objective is to make it MORE hellish upon them.

After WWII we have seemed to have lost the agreesiveness we had during the war. And we haven't really seen much military successs. Perhaps the two are related, don't you think?

Posted by: Max on August 16, 2006 11:53 AM
7. If you look at all the violence in Iraq you will find that the majority of people killed by the terorrists/insurgents are the Iraqi people. The MSM wants us to believe that this is because of a civil war. It is not. What has actually happened is the terrorists/insurgents have come to realize that they can not stand toe to toe with the US Military so they are now atacking the civilian population to try to get them to tell their elected officials to tell us to leave. What the MSM doesn't report is that the terrorists/insurgents tell these people to either tel us to leave or they will keep killing innocents. We received alot of reports like this while I was in Iraq (2004-2005) and I was in 3 different locations (NE of Baghdad, Sadr City and the Green Zone). Notice you do not hear very often about gun battles between terrorists/insurgents in Baghdad like you do hear about in Afghanistan. There really is only two ways that the terrorists/insurgents actually attack our troops....IED's and Mortars being fired into the camps. We are getting better at defeating IED's using technology (and some other more simplistic things that my unit used) and the mortar rounds are not very acurate. It is more akin to Hezzbollah firing Kuytusha rockets into Israel only without as much destructive power.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on August 16, 2006 12:07 PM
8. "...they can not stand toe to toe with the US Military so they are now atacking the civilian population to try to get them to tell their elected officials to tell us to leave. What the MSM doesn't report is that the terrorists/insurgents tell these people to either tel us to leave or they will keep killing innocents."

That is why we have to get the civilian population to fear US more that they do the Terrorists.

Yes, that means that we are going to have do things that seem very ugly - but that's WAR!

Posted by: Steve on August 16, 2006 12:53 PM
9. Steve, I disagree with you. If you noticed I said these incidents are reported to us; therefore they obviously do not fear the terrorists/insurgents as much as one might think. This is also why the attacks have increased by the terrorists/insurgents to try to make their point known to the civilian population. In other words their terror tactics are not working on the masses, so they feel they need to do it more. These are the things that are not reported by the MSM. They do not report that more than 70% of the country is fairly well secure, they do not report all the good we do and they most certainly do not report that the vast majorities of Iraqi's are working with us and their new government to weed out the bad guys. If anything needs to be done it is to hold the press more accountable for their inacurate reporting of Iraq.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on August 16, 2006 01:28 PM
10. This is a far too narrow selection of links on the topic, since they all proceed from the assumption that the only choice is more troops or pull out now.

Peter Galbraith has a far more realistic assessment of where we are now (his latest being in the Guardian today), and his recommendation, though controversial, is far better than "stay the course" or "cut and run."

When Americans grow weary of dying for people waving Hezbollah's flag and screaming "Death to America," they might consider his point of view.

Posted by: Tom Rekdal on August 16, 2006 03:26 PM
11. The Vietnam War was never lost on the battlefield, it was lost on the American TV News, on the front pages of American newspapers and the streets of America. It was not won by the VietCong. It was won for the VietCong by Americans sitting on VietCong AAA weapons and telling the Viet Cong how proud they were to stand by them. It was won for the Viet Cong by Americans such as John F Kerry, who by his own testimony, in front of the US Senate Committee
on Foreign Relations on 22 Apr 1971, accused every American soldier of War Crimes. He stated he had met with the enemy and agreed to all of their conditions for America's surrender. No one
knows how many names are on the Vietnam Wall because Americans supported America's enemies.
We do know Gen Giap and other North Vietnamese leaders told the world that North Vietnam won the war because of the support from the American
left.
Bin Laden and other leaders of the war against
America today, were told in no uncertain terms by
Americans such as Rep Murtha and the leaders of
America's left, that they only have hold out until the Democrats can get us out of Iraq and they will have defeated America again. America will win only if Americans defeat America's left.
America's enemies have no shortage of suicide
bombers, they can blow up people forever. We need to defeat America's left now to save American lives as well as the lives of America's
supporters.
I would like to thank True Soldier and every American in uniform, and their families for their sacrifices in support of America. We can win in Iraq and we need to do it now.

Posted by: pagar on August 16, 2006 03:42 PM
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