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• NEW: President Bush is set to unveil new Iraq strategy at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday
• Sources say Bush's plan will increase U.S. troops by at least 20,000
• Troops could be sent all at once or phased in, sources say
• Other recommendations would include a jobs program, reconstruction projects
The decision has been made, the announcement will come soon, the pundits are weighing in. What do you think?
I think we're on dangerous ground. A victory here would be very rewarding. A loss here would be very painful. And I don't know enough to say one way or the other which is more likely. I can only hope Bush's generals have a better idea, but thats not necessarily a good bet.
I'm holding any comments until the plan is officially released. The media is salivating over a standoff between a President who insists on winning a crumbling war and a new Congressional majority who is believed to disagree. So far it's all media conjecture, so all discussions are merely for entertainment purposes.
A troop surge in and of itself may not be a bad idea if it's coupled with a detailed deployment strategy, leadership structure, distinct timeline and accurate funding projection. If we're going to send more troops, we need some strategic goals to go with them. Reconstruction projects and a job plan are good ideas if they are administrated and funded by Iraqis and not the American Army or Department of Defense.
We need a plan for the end goal, not a continuance. We've helped create a new west bank - that much is done. Do we want to create (and fund)another Israel to go with it? I'll side with Bush if he commits the next two years to stabilization and drawdown instead of victory - the only victory to be had here is for Iraq, not the US.
Edit: Technically I am holding my comments on Bush's yet-unreleased plan... so these are my "pre-comments"
Last edited by Mosely; 01-08-2007, 05:37 PM.
Reason: so much for holding comments
TROOP LEVELS: Mr. Bush announced he would send five additional brigades to Baghdad, an increase of about 16,000 combat troops that would roughly double the number of troops in the capital. The new troops would act in support of Iraqi forces, and would have the authority to clear and secure neighborhoods in both Sunni- and Shiite-majority areas. An additional 4,000 troops would be sent to Anbar Province, which the president described as a “home base” for Al Qaeda.
ECONOMIC STRATEGY: Mr. Bush announced plans to double the number of provincial reconstruction teams and to give commanders and civilians more flexibility in spending on local improvements. He also announced that Iraq will allocate $10 billion to assist with reconstruction projects.
POLITICAL STRATEGY AND DIPLOMACY: Mr. Bush stressed that regional stability would be necessary for success in Iraq, and warned that the U.S. would “interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria” to extremists in Iraq. The president said he had ordered an additional carrier strike group to the region and would deploy Patriot missile systems in order to reassure U.S. allies. Mr. Bush also noted that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would travel to the Middle East on Friday as part of a broad diplomatic effort to rally support for the Iraqi government.
IRAQI BENCHMARKS: Mr. Bush announced that the U.S. would hold the Iraqi government to a series of benchmarks, including the completion of a national oil law, the setting of a date for provincial elections, the influx of more Iraqi brigades to Baghdad, and the reforming of de-Baathification policies. Mr. Bush did not specify what he planned to do if Iraq failed to meet the agreed-upon measures.
Unless this is really the build up for the Iran invasion. (Mostly joking)
I’m not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
- "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
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I hope so too. Although having a metric to measure success by would also be helpful. Assuming for a moment that the additional 21,500 troops does in fact stabilize Baghdad (and maybe does something in Anbar too), then what? These forces are on a ticking clock; the security hand over is scheduled to take place in November. Besides, US Generals felt that the troop levels were unsustainable before the surge. They must feel ever the more so now. It seems to me that all Iran needs to is stall for time, and let the militias fight it out on their own for a bit - after all, even in massively assymetrical warfare, it's hard to kill an enemy fighting at home and surrounded by friends. Iran's even better option: up the material support to the Shiite militias to show that, even with the surged troop levels, Baghdad cannot be secured. Hypothetically speaking, how many Iraqis would ally themselves with an impotent American force?
Well, it's a development. We won't know if it's positive or not until Iran reacts. I'm guessing that, beyond hyperbole in the international court of public opinion, there won't be much of a reaction. That doesn't really make it positive or negative, and it barely registers as a development.
Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette: Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.
If part of the strategy is to assault the Mahdi Army frontally, that will cause enormous trouble in the Shiite south. I would suggest that PM Nuri al-Maliki's warning to the Mahdi Militia to disarm or face the US military is in fact code. He is telling the Sadrists to lie low while the US mops up the Sunni Arab guerrillas. Sadr's militia became relatively quiescent for a whole year after the Marines defeated it at Najaf in August, 2004. But since it is rooted in an enormous social movement, the militia is fairly easy to reconstitute after it goes into hiding.
I'm still doing my research on this - on Bush's latest proposal and also on the questions and answers being batted around between Bush administration officials (namely Condi Rice and Robert Gates) and the various congressional oversight panels. I am trying to find some answers to the questions of a) exactly what benchmarks are being set by the Bush administration and b) what the consequences of success or failure of those benchmarks is. So far I've only got part of the answer to a), and I fear that there is no answer to b). It's pretty much looking like any of the other five 'surges' that preceeded it - boost troop levels and try to beat down the enemy whack-a-mole style. If true, this plan will fail.
Yesterday's 10AM hearing (http://www.senate.gov/~foreign/heari...rg070111a.html) in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, with Rice as the sole 'witness,' had some interesting comments in it. Sen. Obama read back previous testimony from both Rice herself and Iraqi prime minister Maliki in which they both had previously given timelines of six months many, many times before over the past two years. Maliki himself was quoted a year ago as saying "if we do not make great strides in security efforts within 6 months, we are going to have a serious situation on our hands." The question of how many times are we going to say "six more months" or 20,000 more troops, or $50 billion dollars - or 1000 more American deaths - is certainly worth asking. The 6-months more game needs to stop at some point. I, as many of the senators on the foreign relations committee, do not see the proposed 'benchmarks' as giving a clear enough indication (or consequence) of dictating success or failure.
Perhaps the most striking statement I overheard during the hearing yesterday was Ms. Rice stating that she did not "believe" that the Sunnis and Shias could not put aside their grievances and peacefully co-exist in a democratic state. I'm sorry, but a person in her position needs to face reality a bit more than that, and certainly not place as much stock in her beliefs five years into an active, bloody conflict. Anyone who has a basic understanding in Middle-Eastern history should know that tribal roots run on a deeper level than many westerners can comprehend. At this point in the conflict, this simply must be taken into account - that such a peaceful co-existence, in a democratic state, may be impossible. I don't see any indication that Bush's administration has considered this outcome, and that is irresponsible.
I keep hearing that now that we've destabilized Iraq, we can't afford to leave it and run the risk of it becoming yet another breeding ground for Islamic terrorism - that the stakes are too high - the risks too great. Are the risks of an unstable Iraq greater now than they were in 2001? Our President and his team should have considered this before gambling on this war in the first place, but they did not. It makes me wonder what other things they are still simply not considering.