Is Bush's Troop Surge A Good Idea Or Madness?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Biden to fight troop surge
    By Christina Bellantoni
    December 27, 2006

    The incoming Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday said he will try to block President Bush from sending an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq, calling it "the absolute wrong strategy."
    Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware plans three straight weeks of congressional hearings on Iraq policy next month in hopes of persuading the president to abandon a plan he is thought to be seriously considering.
    "We've already broken Iraq. We're about to break the United States military" by sending more troops, said Mr. Biden, who is seeking the 2008 presidential nomination.
    Mr. Bush early next month will announce a new strategy for the war, and is thought to favor a temporary increase in troop levels in what has been dubbed a "surge."
    Mr. Biden said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has agreed to testify before his panel after the president announces his plans. Other likely panel witnesses are Iraq Study Group leaders James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, and new Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
    The committee also will hear from a variety of academics, former and current administration officials, military leaders and Peter W. Galbraith, a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, who has called for formally partitioning Iraq into three sovereign nations.
    The idea is to hear from all those who "have rational although different views as to how to proceed in Iraq," in an attempt to build consensus, Mr. Biden said.
    "Hopefully there is still some opportunity to influence President Bush's decision," he said.
    Voters dealt Mr. Bush a blow last month in midterm elections that propelled Democrats to House and Senate majorities. Soon after the elections, the Iraq Study Group recommended the U.S. begin a withdrawal of combat troops.
    Incoming Democratic leaders promise a change of course on the war, which yesterday reached a death toll surpassing that of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
    Many Democrats oppose increasing the number of troops in Iraq, where nearly 150,000 are already stationed.
    Republicans so far seem divided on a surge, with Sen. John McCain of Arizona pushing the idea and Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota saying he can't support sending more troops.

    Mr. Biden favors beginning to withdraw U.S. troops, and thinks one way to get to that point is to divide Iraq into three mostly autonomous regions with a weak central government in Baghdad. He notes the Iraqi constitution calls for such a federal system, and says it should be partnered with a plan for sharing in oil revenues.
    Mr. Biden worked with Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, in proposing the plan in May. He said yesterday he will call Mr. Gelb as a witness.
    The three weeks of hearings will begin Jan. 9, will run three to four days per week, and will include discussion of the need to bring Iraq's neighbors to the negotiating table, Mr. Biden said.
    He said Republicans should realize the Iraq situation holds huge political implications for their party in 2008 -- both in congressional elections and in the race for the White House.
    "The last thing that John McCain or any other Republican ... running for president wants to inherit is a war in Iraq that is even further deteriorating than it is now," Mr. Biden said.
    He said Democrats cannot remain silent on war policy, but noted he thinks it is the Republicans on the panel who can help pressure Mr. Bush into changing his mind.
    "There is nothing the United States Congress can do by a piece of legislation to alter the course of a war the president decides," he said.
    Mr. Biden recently told Mr. Bush as much during a visit to the White House, saying: "Mr. President, this is your war."
    Balancing the personalities -- and competing potential presidential contenders from both parties who sit on his committee -- might be easier said than done. Among the possible hopefuls on the panel are Democratic Sens. Barack Obama of Illinois, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, and Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
    When asked how having so many possible 2008 candidates at the dais would affect these hearings, Mr. Biden laughed.
    "I hope it's not going to have a lot of impact, although I am sure there are going to be folks who will prepare more thoroughly," he said.
    Also expected to be an outspoken voice on the panel is Sen.-elect James H. Webb Jr., an anti-war Virginia Democrat who unseated Republican George Allen last month.
    Mr. Bush announced this month he would seek an expanded armed forces, adding thousands of troops to the size of the Army and Marine Corps.
    The Washington Times reported last week that senior military officials and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are pressuring Mr. Bush to seek a larger military and that the Joint Chiefs are "cool at best" to the Iraq Study Group proposal.
  2. My position on this troop surge is clear. We could put a million troops in there and it wouldn't change anything if we continue to pursue a failed strategy. Bush's strategy, which seems to involve desperately hoping that the Iraqi's can somehow get control of their country while we watch, has clearly failed.

    In fact, our strategy has been so idiotic, it could serve as a model for how not to do things in the future. We removed all constrainst on a population used to living under tight control, then sat back and watched as the worst elements raised private militias amd vied for control of post-occupation Iraq. We did little or nothing to stop the influx of arms and fighters from Iran and Syria, and instead invested all our efforts in writing a constitution that, among its other failures, insituted islam as the source of law and divided the ovenrment along religious lines, thereby destroying the one positive aspect of Saddam's reign.

    Instead of securing the borders and oil fields, we sent our troops on fruitless missions to stamp out violence in variosu sectors, then pulled them out afterwards, leaving the Iraqi's who had cooperated with us vulnerable to retaliation. We gave various factions, such as the Mahdi army, apparent immunity, and turned a blind eye to rampant corruption in the government, including use of the police and Interior police as agents for sectarian violence. In short, our strategy was criminally naive, exactly the kind of approach we would have expected from Jimmy Carter or John Kerry. There are a lot of similarities to Carter's bungling of the Iran crisis that sank his presidency.

    Bottom line, we have a mess that a few tens of thousands of US troops wil not affect one way or the other. The public has lost patience, understandably I might add, and will not accept any plans that involve lengthy military ventures in Iraq. The administration has the familiar deer in the headlights look about it, and seems incapable of original thinking.

    I expect Biden's hearings to be exercises in politicla posturing, nothing more. The idiotic Iraq Study Group report will be trotted out and debated, to no avail. The only path to vicotry is politically unpalatable. That would involve dissolving the current Iraq government and devolving power to regional shiekhs, who would be given traditional tribal powers, backed by the US military. Inusrgents and militias would be given a chance to lay down their arms or be hunted down and exterminated by death squads.

    The alternatives are the staus quo or cut and run.
  3. Maybe its just me,but this troop surge strategy bullshit is a joke.
    Notice how this talk conveniently centre's around saddam's verdict, on a timeline basis?

    Its obviously being brought out now, in the event his execution does actually make things so much worse as to otherwise prompt a large scale pullout, in the absence of adequate reinforcement.
    A matter that should have been seen to a month or two after the invasion, not years later.

    If you can explain how ethiopian troops are steamrolling the somali islamic courts, with overwhelming force, Vs the us doing the same thing strategically and not getting the same results.......
    Apples to oranges maybe, but there it is.
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