Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Debating Iraq: Send more troops?
If this were poker, this would be the interesting part: You've got your cards, the bets are climbing, and you've got to decide whether to raise or fold.

That is essentially where the United States stands now in regard to increasing the number of troops in Iraq.

On one side are proponents, like Senator John McCain, who have said doggedly for several years that the force of 140,000 or so troops in Iraq is simply not enough to stabilize the country and ensure lasting victory. History is on their side. According to the Brookings Institution, if we look at the kind of force it has taken to stabilize other countries after war, Iraq probably requires a minimum of 400,000 American troops.

The problem is, we just don't have that many extra troops sitting around.

Some critics say at best America could put 20,000 or 30,000 more pairs of boots on the ground in Iraq, and that, they say, might ... might ... be enough to stabilize Baghdad.

Still, some close observers of the war say it is worth trying. Get Baghdad to settle down, and expand outward, they say. Use the extra American soldiers and Marines to establish a bulkhead of security and build on it.

Like I said, if we were talking about poker, this is would be the interesting part. But this is not poker. We are talking about American lives; the commitment of some of our best and bravest young people. We are talking about a country's future.

So what would you do? Would sending more troops to Iraq make a positive difference or just raise the stakes?
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 4:37 PM ET
  76 Comments
More troops are more potential hostages. It's time to face the fact that we're not facing an 'insurgency', but a catastrophic social meltdown. Our presence only exascerbates it. Time to let regional forces do something to police their own backyard. What's Saudi Arabia doing with its armed forces these days, anyway? We've certainly paid for enough hardware and training for them...
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 5:04 PM ET
It's a year too late to send more troops to Iraq. That is if we even have them and could equip them. McCain, knowing the real numbers, is one who speaks out of one side of his mouth in public and another when he sits on the Armed Forces Committee. He's gone with Bush on every thing, including Rummy's Brac and taxes. He along with the rest of the supposed 'military supporters' on both the House and Congress AS Committees are a sorry bunch. It is also amazing that Hillary speaks out so strongly when her husband was no 'friend' to the military. Duncan Hunter is another empty flag waver. Check the actions and forget the words. Oh, and the Iraqi Study Group after 8 mos. is finally getting a report out. WOW, is that based on the CIA-military intel that got warped to get us into this mess. Hey, if I hear that Gates, Pace or any of the other brass kissers are going to get us out of there with some dignity intact again, I think I'll puke. My kid's rotated out right now. He and his brothers and sisters deserve better.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista,ar : 5:11 PM ET
Just one more comment about the Baghdad thing. That has been the core of the 'losing strategy' since the Statue of Saddam toppled. Iran's and Syria's borders were left open and the oil was left to thieves in the night. Since, when is it effective to not take assests and cut off the 'enemies' supply lines. And Afghanistan is a big mess with a few troops chasing ghosts while the opium traders move with ease. Is Dubai still the hub of the money laundrying?
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista,ar : 5:25 PM ET
Hi Tom~
What an interesting analogy! Now that you put it that way, it is perfectly clear. We should never gamble with human lives! I don't agree with John McCain at all. I believe he is SORELY mistaken. Senator McCain is still trying to win Viet Namn. He needs help with his PTSD. Of course, we all have an extra scoop of something. Senator John Kerry seems to have learned a valuable lesson from Viet Namn which is, we should have never have gone there in the first place! The U.S. needs to give Iraq a time limit, then get the heck out. Other countries have already said, "see ya". Why do we continue to allow soldiers to die just because President Bush, Senator John McCain and an insignificant few keep shouting for a victory in Iraq? It ain't happening. This war is a disaster and sending in more troops is insane. Well, you know what they say, " As you go through life two rules will never bend, never whittle toward yourself or pee against the wind." Thanks for your blog Tom. I always enjoy your commentary!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 5:38 PM ET
I think it isn't fair to the troops, the people of the world or the president to leave his administration on current path just to watch him fail and then say I told you so. We have an unpresedented opportunity to bring global peace. What Isreal is supose to represent is the promised land for the princes of peace. Why not send a letter to the leader of Iran and ask him to put his money where his mouth is and work with Isreal and all believers of monotheism (one God) to make Iraq what Isreal is supposed to be. Promised land for world peace. And let us return to working on the real enemy, poverty. Thank you for your ear.
Posted By Anonymous Jerry Cromer Cary NC : 5:39 PM ET
Send more troops...for what?! We've been saved from the WMD's that never existed and Saddam has been toppled. The majority of Iraqis polled want us to leave within the year and most of our troops agree. It's time to admit this occupation was a colossal failure and bring our men and women home. Bush's legacy is not worth one more casualty and billions more down the drain.
Posted By Anonymous Quinn, Oakland, CA : 5:41 PM ET
Hi Tom,
If we need more troops to stabilize Iraq, then I'd send NATO troops, so called UN peacekeepers, and more troops from all over the world. Everyone should do their part. Including Iraq. If, on the other hand, Iraq feels we need to pull back some and stay close just for support, then that's what we should do. The options are limited, but the constant fighting among those of us in the USA over this is doing absolutely no one any good, including the Iraqis.

There comes a time and I think we have long passed it when enough finally becomes enough. Let those elected solve it..period. Our troops don't deserve, in my opinion, the debate about this war to cause them one second of anguish. They are risking their lives, while we all engage in a political boxing match. I thank them for their service and pray that Iraqis and Americans will realize they each want the same thing. A peaceful country, with no bloodshed.
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 5:57 PM ET
We are not leaving. Its not an option. But we can turn this mess around. And please, I am not talking about breaking Iraq into independent countries. And I don�t even want to think about what could happen in the Middle East if we pulled out now.

We need to work with the tribal forces, not against them, and foster the formation of a federation of Iraqi states, managed under a central government. We need to leverage tribal forces to combat what I see as planted terrorism, whose goal is to plunge Iraq into civil war to drive the USA out and far more sinister forces in.

A federation of states, under a central government, could pull the plug on sectarian violence. State police and military forces, protecting their own tribal interests, would become immediately combat viable. We would have far less military expenditure in the Iraq theater under such conditions, conditions where we could instead put our money into rebuilding that country rather than tearing it to pieces. International cooperation in such an environment would pick up, as the crisis morphs from a military to a humanitarian crisis.

We will need to build completely new cities and towns, their infrastructure, and relocate masses of people...relocating homes, businesses, facilities, etc. We have built cities and towns before in the course of warfare, such as during the Manhattan project.
What Iraq needs is a large-scale project of resettlement and nation forming, and it needs to happen now. Right now.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Honolulu, Hawaii : 6:07 PM ET
Being a purist and not to disagree with Mark, but the Manhattan Project was the A-Bomb. The Marshall Plan was initiated after WW II to rebuild the rubble left after VE-VJ.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista,ar : 6:15 PM ET
Additional troops seem to be the logical step in Iraq. Cop on every corner atmosphere. If every country had sent another 1000 troops when the terrorists attacked their men, instead of pulling them back home, we would have beaten them at their own game.
Yes add another 50,000 men to the forces we have there now.
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Boca Raton, Fl. : 6:32 PM ET
Mark (or George Bush posting under a handle) says: "We are not leaving. Its not an option."

This is the thinking that brought us to this point. How do you like it so far?
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 6:36 PM ET
Let me just get this straight. When you say we are talking about "a country's future", do you mean the United Staes, or Iraq, because to be honest, the U.S. isn't the only place with people. But straight to the subject. I believe we should not only stop sending troops, but also bringing back the one's that are there before they die, because they also have a future here, not there. Again, to be honest, I shouldn't say anything, because I want to join the airforce. LOL!
Posted By Anonymous Classified, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania : 6:46 PM ET
It's too late to build a coalition of international troops, that ship has already sailed.

The last cog to fall is the disolution of Maliki's government, then maybe this ostrich-like administration will talk about the 500# gorrila in the room - Their Failure.
Posted By Anonymous Craig, Missoula, MT : 6:49 PM ET
I'm tired of listening to all these people crying about the Iraq war. Yes it was most likely a huge mistake to go into Iraq in the first place...but that's in the past and now we must deal with the present and the future. Leaving Iraq right now would leave that country in civil war and ultimately most likely resulting in Iranian militias taking over and controlling the oil ports. It's time to call up a draft in this country of 17-47 year olds...men, women, and anybody who can fire a weapon and flood that country with upwards of 15 million US personel. We need it secured so the Iraqi government may stabalize and build it's own military without new trainees worrying about being blown up by a roadside bomb. In addition it's probably about time to start threatening Iran and Syria to call off it's militias by threatening them with nuclear warheads. If they refuse to concede then there's nothing wrong with firing off a warning shot in the middle eastern desert to show them what thermonuclear warfare is going to look like. We do those things and we have a fighting chance in the middle east. If we start kicking ass and stop worrying about what the rest of the world thinks then we will be successful. However if we continue to "stay the course" we will find ourselves in another episode from the Vietnam sitcom.
Posted By Anonymous Nathaniel Young, College Station, TX : 7:07 PM ET
Tom: Wow...great analogy. I like how you correlated this with a poker game. So, where does the "bluff" come in? My gut tells me that if we don't have a good strategy around ending this war, then simply putting more troops on the ground will be a worthless effort. At this point, I just want us to "DO" something whether it's pull out or put more in. If it doesn't work, then shame on us for not having have a Plan B ready.
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 7:07 PM ET
It was wrong for this government to invade another country and it is time to bring our troops home. I believe the Bush administration has committed crimes in the name of "greed" and it seems somebody in that administration should pay for it.
Posted By Anonymous Grace Block, Little Rock, AR : 7:25 PM ET
We should be getting our butts out. We are the only country truly subsidizing this war(?). George W. should be luck to have half the brains ofhis father. WE SHOULDN"T BE THERE AT ALL.
Posted By Anonymous George Hood, Murphy, NC : 7:29 PM ET
ISN'T IT ENOUGH ALRADY? WE TRIED FOR THREE YEARS AND NOTHING HAS IMPROVED. AS A MATTER OF FACT EVERYONE KNOWS THAT THE SITUATION HAS ONLY GOTTEN WORSE. SO WHAT TO DO NOW? DEFINATELY NOT SEND MORE TROOPS IN TO RISK THEIR LIVES FOR SOMETHING THAT WE OBVIOUSLY CAN NOT HELP. WE SHOULD NOT LOOK AT IT AS A DEFEAT, BUT ONLY AS A REACH OUT TO A NATION THAT NEEDED HELP AND NOW NO LONGER DOES. YES, THE SITUATION MIGHT GET EVEN WORSE, BUT OUR YOUNG SOLDIERS SHOULD NOT BE THE ONES TO PAY FOR IT. WE TRIED, IT DIDN'T WORK, SO WE NEED TO COME BACK HOME AND INSTEAD, CONCENTRATE AND USE THAT MONEY FOR FIXING AND IMPROVING THE AREAS IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.
Posted By Anonymous MIRELA DIAZ, ST. ROBERT, MO : 7:35 PM ET
"UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL". I'm really frustrated witht the lack of unity in the United States. We as a nation started this thing in Iraq, and we as a nation should finish it. If it means more troops, then send them. But I also challenge to media to report things fair and equitably. I challenge the politicians to lead the nation to victory while the generals lead our troops to victory.

We argue, curse, and fight with our fellow citizens about crap that really doesn't matter, while the Iraqis struggle to stay alive. Send the troops, send NATO, send the damn UN, just secure the friggin' borders of Iraq, then and only then can the country be controlled. Put troops on the border ... patrol it and defend it ... look at Korea as and example ... their border is secure and the country is doing quite well.

Don't have the troops? Where is the political leadership? Why are they not asking for more troops? Why we aren't they leading us? I suspect it is because they are too busy worrying about their lobbyist, their elections, and their own self interests.

I Have every faith in our military ... I don't however have much faith at all in our political non leadership.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff J Edgar Springs, MO : 7:43 PM ET
Hi Tom, That's a good card game analogy and if you don't mind another: How's the president's and other's perpetual insistence that we send more troops more sound than Don Quixote fighting the windmills? Some of the Iraqi's are thankful Saadam is out of power, yet many more have now strongly indicated it's time to break like the wind and leave. The U.S. forces have also helped train troops there to help protect the citizens and government.
Posted By Anonymous Carol B., Frederick, MD : 7:52 PM ET
I would most definately not be sending in more American troops, and I wouldn't be gambling with people's lives by betting on my next move. Between President Bush and John McCain the Military would all end up in Iraq. McCain seems to be harbouring a lot of bitterness from what happened in Vietnam and is therefore determined to win this one. As far as President Bush is concerned, I don't know what the hell HE'S thinking. He's definately in denial and all he can think of is win win win.
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario Canada : 8:03 PM ET
To think that we Americans can miraculously "fix" the violence that has encased the Middle East for hundreds if not thousands of years is quite arrogant and unrealistic. I don't believe we really started a war rather we got involved in one that has been ongoing for many years and have exacerbated it. It is time for us to leave well enough alone because we will not solve their problems since we still can't even solve ours i.e. healthcare and New Orleans-has anyone visited there recently? Looks the same over a year later-pathetic. To think that we can rebuild a foreign country when we can't even rebuild our own city makes me laugh-and not in a good way.
Posted By Anonymous M. Wong, Los Angeles, CA : 8:15 PM ET
more troops? for what? haven't enough of our young people died for nothing? this situation is eerily reminiscent of the late 1960s when we should have withdrawn for Vietnam but stubbornly did not at the cost of thousands and thousands of lives that died in vein. I'd like to see someone in Bush's family over there, perhaps then he would have a sensible perceptive on this situation.
Posted By Anonymous Robert, Los Angeles, CA : 8:39 PM ET
I absolutely agree to what the fellow above said. Iraq is now being resettled - relocating houses , facilities, public services, and etc. And if we send more troops in - which I highly doubt about our capabability sending those large number, we will basically bombing our own work.

Also, I like how Tom compared situation in Iraq war with playing poker. But, we are talking about matters of our boys dying and losing money. He should not have used it.

But in the other hand. the conflict between the two tribes, shiites and sunni, is something we also need to think about. We went into Iraq for humanitarian reason with a lil bit of earning some gas, and our main focus was to save those iraqis who are suffering and to eradicate Saddam Hussein. And now, Civil War is heating up, I believe they will eventually end up killing and breaking eveything into pieces even our work. Although we are losing our braved and precious lives, we must finish what we started.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Palisades Park, NJ : 8:41 PM ET
Aloha: Now that Al Sadr has deceided to take his Army and depart, what good is the 2000 more soldiers going to do in Baghdad? They were not even given permission to go into Sadr City to seek the missing troup. It might be best if all our forces just came back and set up camp in Bagdad and let the insugence have the rest of the country. adding additional tropops to this kind of conflict just isn't going to cut it. Vrspy Buzz Baer Kailua Kona Hi
Posted By Anonymous Buzz Baer Holualoa HI : 8:45 PM ET
We should never gamble with human lives? That sounds all good and nice, but it's just plain stupid. The very nature of warfare requires you to gamble with lives. The landing at Normandy on D-Day was certainly a gamble. Should we not have done that? Many great military victories were risky gambles.

Senator Kerry obviously did not learn that "we should have never have gone there in the first place", since he voted to authorize the war. Finally, no NATO or UN troops are going to get on the ground in Iraq. We and our allies got us into this mess, and we'll have to get us out. It's not pretty, but we can do it.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly, Colorado Springs, CO : 8:51 PM ET
More troops is not the answer. Fact is the US public and the US goverment have to understand that it will get worse before it will get better. What needs to be done is to develop a detailed 3 to 5 year plan.

This plan needs to cover issues like:
1. How to train all kinds of security forces under the Iraq goverment, that includes police, military etc.
2. Build a police and military academy where people get trained to under stand the constituation, understand what laws are and what their role is to defend and implement those laws.
3. Students who enter this academy will be basically kept in those police academy compounds for two years, with as little as possible leave.
4. This will help to "brainwash" them to ensure that they learn that it makes no differens what you are, sunni, shiite, christian and kurd.
5. Provide educators for those academies.
6. Pull US troops to strategic positions and to controll and seal the borders.
7. Developed a detailed plan to rebuild infrastructure.
8. Ensure that Jordan and Saudi Arabia control their borders perfectly.
9. Set up a maximum number of border crossings for all kinds of transportation methods throughout the whole Iraqi border. This will ensure if trucks or cars cross the border at any other point to be treated as highly dangerous and stope on the spot.
10. Ensure that the US Navy controls the river which is the border between Iraq and Iran. This will ensure that smuggling of all kinds of goods, especially weapons, will be reduced.

Those are some key actions which need to be take care of. Step by step use troops can be reduced starting probably 6 month from now. More troops is the wrong sign.
Posted By Anonymous Ramsi Hashash, Willmar MN : 9:04 PM ET
As a soldier who came home from an 18 month deployment just a couple months ago I know one thing. We can't "win" this war. (Not by President Bush's standard anyway) Nothing more can be done for the Iraqi people. I thought I would have a greater understanding of them after serving them for 18 months. They only confuse me more. They don't want us there. They have been given a chance to have democracy and freedom. Let them fight for it because I won't go back there. I would sooner face prison to put my life on the line for them again.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Salt Lake City, UT : 9:28 PM ET
Sending more troops would raise the stakes. We need to pull troops out not send more in. Why exacerbate the situation?
Posted By Anonymous Melody Chapin Harbor Springs : 6:39 AM ET
It will NOT take a minimum of 400,000 AMERICAN troops---why is it all OUR fight? If those people REALLY wanted a democracy, THEY would stand together & fight for it. I'm so sick of losing OUR troops for what's going to end up being NOTHING! As a vet, I REALLY don't appreciate the fact that George Bush is pushing for our troops to stay, yet HE wasn't MAN ENOUGH to fight? He shouldn't be running a lawn mower, let alone our country!
Posted By Anonymous Connie, Front Royal, VA : 7:03 AM ET
Just my opinion, having a brother in the military stationed in Iraq: No, I don't think more troops should be sent. I think the people of Iraq need to be trained by the troops already there to replace existing troops from the United States. The replacement troops need better security equipment, better guns and tanks. Iraq does not need to be divided into three parts, but sectioned off into three parts, each part having specific control over some of the oil, in order that each part can pay for the equipment, guns and tanks, plus be able to pay its to-be trained replacement troops. Iraq has to be able to defend itself, so that the troops from the United States can return home. Iraq has to be able to defend itself from terrorists and insurgents in their part of the world, so that terrorists and insurgents will less likely be able to make their way to the United States. We've been helping Iraq, and in turn, Iraq must first be able defend itself in order to help us.
Posted By Anonymous Kim Choate, Las Vegas, NV : 7:04 AM ET
The time to send more troops was in 2003. If it takes the administration nearly 3000 deaths, three years of sluggish progress, and a blown election to figure this out, maybe we should learn a lesson from Vietnam and just pull out and declare victory.
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, Odenton MD : 7:09 AM ET
More troops? For the congressmen and the patriotic conservatives who are calling for more troops in Iraq, where are they going to come from? Each active duty BCT is in one of three stages: Currently deployed to Iraq/Afganistan; recently redeployed from Iraq/Afganistan or preparing to go to Iraq/Afganistan. The national guard BCTs are in the same posistion. The back to back deployments are destroying army families (who really cares, right?) and overall unit readiness continues to slip. Many compare this war to WWII because our national survival is supposedly threatend. In WWII 16 million citizens served. Today, less than 1/10 of 1% of the US population is serving. Where is the honor in this? How many patriotic conservatives are calling for shared sacrifice? The only way we can increase the number of troops in Iraq is to redeploy soldiers back to Iraq who only recently returned and before they even had a chance to recover from the last deployment. But how many politicans truly care about what is actually happening to the military? I'm sure the army is thankful for the 2.2% raise and more deployments while a small minority of americans get major tax breaks. I'm sure the army is appreciative of the increase in divorce rates. Here is another issue. You here some peolpe point out that the U.S. military is about 2 million strong. Sounds good. How many of the two million are combat arms troops? Answer that question and you'll know why soldiers are on their third and fourth deployment to Iraq and Afganistan. More troops!!??? Give me a break. Although the army met its recruitment goal, it had to lower standards to do it. Overweight soldiers are prevelant, a high school diploma isn't a requirment. Retention is high because of the 10's of thousands of dollars enlisted soldiers receive for reenlisting but I'm willing to bet that as many BCTs complete a third and fourth rotation to that hell hole called Iraq, retention will nose dive. 2008-2009 will mark an end to the high rentention rates if the current OPTEMPO persist.
Posted By Anonymous Jodey John, Lexington, SC : 7:40 AM ET
Tom:
Sometimes I feel like our military is playing Russian roulette rather than poker with militias and snipers picking the bullets.

At this point, our troops are fighting a civil war. This is not about guaranteeing freedom for Iraq; it is about ancient cultural riffs and religious interpretations. Even though Sadam Hussein was a butcher, his Gestapo-like national guard did suppress the clash between the Shiites and Sunnis but also left the legacy of Kurd genocide.

More troops?
At the level of 400,000 to stabilize Iraq?
How?
The draft?
It is not going to happen.
Americans spoke on November 7, 2006.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 8:55 AM ET
The King of Jordan is correct. The only solution for Iraq is a military one and for the time being the country should be under military governance. The UN will have to mandate Iraq so that we can dissolve their failed political endeavor, put all armies under one command and build a nonsectarian bureaucracy to run the government. This would be the first legitable acts of the war because it would be sanctioned by the World. More troops will definitely be needed in the beginning, but we should be able to see light at the end of the tunnel from the start.
Posted By Anonymous R. Shindler, Yoakum, TX : 9:29 AM ET
I got an idea. Let all the congressmen, senators, and Bush administration people, do a three-month intern as real soldiers in Iraq. They take turns until the war is over. In this way, they will stop talking about troops just in numbers and Iraqis as nothing.

Who should we start with? John McCain of course.
Posted By Anonymous Ling Zhang, Albany, NY : 9:52 AM ET
The US should not be in the middle of a civil war as Colin Powell described it just yesterday.
Sadr is withdrawing his support from Maliki's government while his militia murders fellow countrymen.
Mortar rounds fall on mosques while car bombs and suicide bombers indiscriminately destroy civilans and markets.
It is time for the US to withdraw its troops to discrete enclaves - perhaps even Kuwait. We have now lost as many soldiers in Iraq as were killed at the World Trade Center in a conflict that has lasted longer than WW2.
The Iraqi's have to take their future into their own hands. They clearly can afford the weapons and organize militias.
The US can no longer be a sitting target between warring Muslim factions.
Posted By Anonymous James Pelsor Augusta, Maine : 10:00 AM ET
The Marines concluded months ago that Anbar Province's "insurgency" can no longer be defeated militarily by a force of any size.

We're now in the process of losing this war one province at a time.
Posted By Anonymous Robert ("Bob") Smith, New York, N.Y. : 10:01 AM ET
Bush is back to telling the American people that must understand that the Iraqis want freedom and that our troops will not leave until the mission is accomplished. Haven't we all heard this c**p before? Besides, I don't need slacker Bush telling me what to understand - I am quite capable of doing that on my own.
Posted By Anonymous Will, St. Simons Island, GA : 10:04 AM ET
As adamant as I was about not getting into this war, we are there now, and it's our responsibility to put things as right as we can. If more troops there will help get Iraq stabilized, then I'm all for it.

The trouble is, we still haven't cleaned up the messes from Afghanistan yet. Yes, I can understand that most of that mess wasn't caused by our invasion, but it's been almost twenty years since the Soviets have pulled out, and we still have land mines killing Afghanis, farm animals and US and other soldiers. Still.

My son stationed in Iraq now was gung-ho about getting there, and now after surviving two EFP (Explosively Formed Projectiles) attacks on his vehicle, he really wishes that he wasn't there now. He's truly scared, and of course we are scared for him ourselves.

When this thing started, we had no plan on what would happen after we "won" the war, and I fully blame George W. Bush for that, and we seemingly have no plan even now. Hopefully the elections will start somebody, D or R, I really don't care, thinking about a plan, expressing that plan to us, the taxpayers footing this thing, and probably more importantly, to the Iraqi people. Expressing it to the world at large may regain some esteem that we have certainly lost, but I could care less about that.
Posted By Anonymous Bryan Price, Orange Park, FL : 10:09 AM ET
What woud I do? Start the immediate withdrawal of 20,000 troops per month until all are gone. Before this war even took place I wrote mesages that the ending government would be far worse than the one it replaced. The Bush administration obviously never took a history class. I can only think of one revolution where the existing power was overthrown and the ending government was better than the one it replaced. The ending government always turns out to far worse . The French revolution ended up being a reign of terror, the Russian revolution ending up being a police state with a secret police force (ie the KGB), the Cuban revolution ended up being far worse than the Batista government. The US ARMY colossal blunders of disbanding the Iraqi police force and disbanding the Republican guard will rank as the single most idiotic event that the US did in Iraq. Even the NAZI's did not disband the French police forces when they occupied France. They also never disbanded police forces in Poland and other countries they conquered. The NAZI's as evil as they were had enough sense to not interfere with the day to day functions of keeping order within a country. They entered a country not to create chaos which Cheney created but to Occupy it and add it to their policy of enlarging their borders. Would sending more troops make a positive difference? Not on your life. As Vietnam was doomed before the US began bombing North Vietnam and began to ship hundreds of thousands of troops to the country so too was Iraq doomed. The wisdom of the deceased General MacArthur (and this is not to praise him) was adhered to by President Kennedy concerning getting involved in an asian war. MacArthur told Kennedy that such a war in asia was "unwinnable". On the day of his death Kennedy had an executive order in place to withdraw the american advisors from south Vietnam. The day after his death Lyndon Johnson at the urging of the pentagon suddenly came up with a reassessment that the US could win in Vietnam. A president who before getting into power who had so little knowledge of the world and who had absolutely no experience dealing with foreign governments and who had fewer trips outside the US (two) than Vice Presisdent Cheney had heart attacks (three) foolishly allowed underlings to create a war that is also unwinable.
Posted By Anonymous JOHN FINN, CLIFTON PARK, NY : 10:24 AM ET
Victory in Iraq? Of course there will be victory in Iraq. But it will be Iran and al queda that will achieve the victory. There was Victory in Vietnam also of course but it was Ho's Victory who knew he would win no matter how long the victory took. The communists achieved victory without using a single bomber like the B-52, without a single aircraft carrier, without a single smart weapon, without all the so-called high tech equipment of a so-called superior well equipped and well trained army that the US fielded. When Ho met with US officials who asked him "How did he ever expect to prevail against a military power like the US with all our manpower, and equipment and weapons and aerial surveillance photos". Ho replied that he was surprised to hear such a statement from an american. Ho knew american history how a rag tag band of rabble was able to defeat the most well equipped , well trained, well supplied, well armed army in the world at that time (King Georges Army). The Ho army of Viet cong was supplied by peasants pushing bycycles down the Ho Chi Minh Trial in Laos. In spite of years of bombing and bombing bomb craters day after day it has no effect. One night the pilots on the Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier were bragging about how they destroyed a truck convoy on the Ho Chi Minh trail. They were so stupid those dumb North Vietnamese that they did not turn off their headlights. The next day it was revealed that the pilots had dropped bombs on smudge pots placed five feet apart to look like truck headlights. so much for North Vietnmaese high tech equipment.
Posted By Anonymous Joeseph, Clifton Park, NY : 10:42 AM ET
I am sick of those who are sitting at home making life threating decisions for troops who when they get home from this war can't even get the protectionsisms that our country is willing to sacrifice their lives for at home. There are neighborhoods in America that need say about 78 Billion dollars of restructuring and the people in those neighborhoods will not be attempting to annihilate the help wagon.
Posted By Anonymous Norm, Arlington TX : 10:57 AM ET
"Sending more troops" could just mean cycling in another 3 battalions, and cycling out another group that is already there.

But that aside...
From what I've read, I think the US needs more firepower in Iraq, not ground troops. Maybe leveling a few terrorist strongholds should send the message. And any civilians within the blast radius (given the nature of precision weapons) probably are terrorists, and not very "innocent"
Posted By Anonymous Ben, Baltimore, MD : 11:14 AM ET
Sending more troops to be killed when you're in a place you never should be in the first place is just plain stupid. Get the 'hell out of Dodge' is what I say!!!Murtha is correct when he says as long as we're there those poor people will NEVER have peace and neither will we. You can't force your way of thinking down anyone's throat, especially with a gun. Our troops can't tell who's the enemy and who isn't! At least move out, see what happens and find out who is REALLY causing all the trouble. We can always go back in if needed but, at least, give the people a chance to solve their own problems without our interferrence!!!They have been asking us to leave for quite some time now.
Posted By Anonymous Ellen, St. Augustine, Fl : 11:15 AM ET
Absolutely no more troops. More isn't necessarily better. We will get in so deep we'll never be able to get out.
Posted By Anonymous Pam, Denver, Colorado : 11:21 AM ET
Regardless of how you feel about this war, if you say you support our troops, then do something that really matters. Especially this holiday season.

Go to anysoldier.com and write one a letter.

If you really support our troops, tell them. Not just the rest of us.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Chicago, IL : 11:32 AM ET
More troops will mean more American lives lost. Sending more troops into a civil war would be a mistake. I am waiting for Bush and all the Bushies to eat crow, and admit they made an enormous, costly mistake that has cost us, many precious American lives.
I support our troops, always have. I have NEVER supported the war with Iraq, I am just a mother of four, but from the beginning I knew it would end badly and it has.
Posted By Anonymous Mari Fernandez, Salt Lake City, Utah : 11:44 AM ET
It's a big mess to be sure. It's our mess however. The Iraqis are on the verge of genocide - Shiite against Sunni. If we leave and 10, 100, 500K more die over there, we will never be able to regain our reputation as the leader of the free world.

It's time to serve our country, that's my opinion. I agree with Mr. McCain - we need more troops. The only way we can increase troop levels is with a draft. It's overdue and inevitable. And let's make it ages 25 to 45, no deferments, no exceptions.

But congress is weak. Irrelevant even. They'll talk a bit about stem cells I guess.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Milwaukee, WI : 12:12 PM ET
I have scanned the comments sent by others and it seems that there is an overwhelming desire to get out. The problem is that those comments do not address the reality of war, and we are at war. To lose will be devastating to the US and its allies (which include other Muslim /Arab countries) it means we turn our fate over to powers of Syria and Iran and we give them the ticket to direct the outcome of the middle east and beyond (Africa, Afghanistan etc.). We can do that and expect to retain our position as the leader of the free world (yes Virginia living in a fundamentalist Islamic nation is not a life of freedom). Even worse we loose control of vital energy resources that drive modern society. No we need to step up to the plate, hitch up our belt and do what it takes to win. That means more troops to set down on the insurgency in Iraq, that means telegraphing to Syria and Iran that we won�t leave until the situation is in hand. This also means engaging each of those adversaries in face to face talks. It also means showing those that desire to fight us will have to pay a very dear price in blood time and money. This is a war, and war is a dirty nasty business that only favors the strong, determined and fearless. All others lose.
Posted By Anonymous Jesse Barker, Statesville, NC : 12:24 PM ET
US policy right now is one of virtual non-interferance. Who do you prosecute when both sides are commiting crimes against humanity? That is the nature of a civil war and what "leaders" are now admiting exists in Iraq. Afghanistan is polarized between Pashtuns and the "Northern Alliance" Afghans as much as Iraq is polarized by Sunnis and Shiites. Polarization by two historical enemies arming to fight a disagreement of religion in a quasi-holy war leads only to a expanding war funded by the wealthy on either side. Does anyone doubt that there aren't rich Sunnis in Saudi Arabia and rich Shiites in Iran that wouldn't love to fight a proxy war over religious differences? If religion is to be a peacemaker as the Pope seems to believe then Iraq is a classic example of his own ignorance of humanity's inner nature to solve differences through warfare (a historical fact between Protestants and Catholics, the Crusades, even Buddhism in China, or Japanese belief in their king-god leader over all other inferior races).

Now that the US is involved in at best a "sectarian conflict" consuming 1000+ civilians a month WITH US involvement what conclusion can the "average Joe" make about the result of the US leaving?

Soldiers can not bear the constant rotations, and the number of crimes commited by US troops against the local population only further proves this. Nor should a Army of at best 1 million (if you include civilian soldiers such as KBR, Black Water, and the National Guard) be able to sustain controlling a population of 20+ million. I encourage anyone to observe the size of the NYPD and say the Army is capable of fielding that kind of law and order capacity in a nation that had little previous law (other than the law stating he who gets hit by the bullet first loses).

We serve in the Army to protect our nation, however, only the American people can protect Lady Liberty from herself. Soldiers follow orders, even the ones that make no sense. If you ask it a soldier will follow orders to go straight into a fire storm, however, out of compassion I do ask the American people to realize that no soldier is perfect, and we too have children, mothers, fathers, spouses, friends .... we do miss our lives 1000s of miles away as much as you would. Our mistakes are immoral at times, but do not let your countrymen burn for their own misjudgement. "War is hell" or worse when you are told not to open fire; sometimes even on the units we trained / armed.

Now we need a direction, ANY direction is better than just sitting in harms way. Authorize the military to take action, this is my challenge to leadership. Either we take the fight to the enemy in a attempt to restore order and confidence in the US's ability to maintain control. Or we take flight to leave the forces we've trained to carry on in our stead. Every day YOU delay costs our people lives and billions of tax dollars that could go to securing all our children's future in a America where freedom is a experience not a dream.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Smith, Bagram, Afghanistan from Austin, TX : 12:46 PM ET
Enough is enough. Bring our troops home. They're fighting a loosing battle. You cannot win a war against Religious fanctics. You can send a million troops and it won't change a thing. The civil war is on and Bush is in denial. Bush's arrogance is killing our troops rather then admit he was wrong.
Posted By Anonymous Armando, Houston TX : 1:19 PM ET
It will be useless to send more troops to Iraq. This will only add to the violence. The only solution for peace in the middle east is for all western nations to get out. We are not wanted. Never have been (since the crusades) and never will be. All the diplomacy and war will not change that. It is Arab land, let them have it. If it oil we want, let them pump it all they can do is sell it on the open market and that is what we should want.

How many men have to die for us to realize these simple facts.
Posted By Anonymous Don, Houston,Tx : 1:28 PM ET
Please, the Manhattan project is but a single example of a wartime project that resulted in the creation of cities and towns in what was once wilderness. It was more than just an A-bomb project. There are more such examples, but one learned in history needs not my lecture to see the point.

That aside, military force is a tool, and only a tool. It is not a strategy. If we do not have a strategy for the troops they should not be sent. If the strategy is more of the same, then again they should not be sent. Our enemy would respond in kind to troop increases and would actually want this, as a cover to escalate operations against the civilian population.

But if we have a clear direction, a new direction, where the additional troops could play a helpful role, then send all that we can spare. I have detailed one such new direction in my earlier post. The power of the freedom of speech means that we as the people can contribute to a solution, provided that we remain focused as a nation on a solution.

I was and remain totally against this invasion of Iraq as executed, but its water over the bridge now. Only solutions will help us now, so lets hear them.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Aoki, Honolulu, Hawaii : 1:40 PM ET
Sending more troops would have been good about a year ago. So yes send more troops, get the job done, find someone to run the hell hole, and get out.

"You can't have victory without Sacrifice" Pres. Roosevelt
Posted By Anonymous Levi of Fort Wayne, IN : 1:42 PM ET
Yes we need to send as many troops as we can to get the job done,faliure to do that will weaken us in that region for decades to come & will cost us more lives.
Posted By Anonymous Z- ARVADA, CO. : 1:52 PM ET
Remember when the Iraqi's were hugging and kissing our troops on the covers of magazines? Then the Dems and liberal media began throwing gas on the smoldering fire that was Iraq in their quest to pull down our own elected government and seize power. They've succeeded. With Bush hamstrung, Iraq is now the Dems responsibility. I personally think we should airlift all the Christians out of Iraq and then arm the Sunnis and Shia to the teeth and let them kill each other. They're all savages anyway.
Posted By Anonymous Tim Patrick., North Miami, FL : 2:01 PM ET
my son is in baghadad for the 2nd time in almost 3 yrs. God bless JOHN MURTHA-he's right, they are sitting ducks in the middle of a civil war. get them out now--that is the only way to support our troops!
Posted By Anonymous pat hallgring highlands, nj : 2:04 PM ET
Clearly you have to look at who is responsible for the mess that's been caused. The US went in so, the US has to be responsible for fixing the problem. It's not like a bad relationship where you can just part ways.
Posted By Anonymous George, Ottawa, Canada : 2:09 PM ET
I cannot believe there are still people out there that still think this thing can be "won" militarily! Thankfully those people are very very much in the minority. Unfortunately Bush is part of that minority and he is the "commander in chief". Since Rove is Bush's puppeteer we need to crack his thick skull first. As for McCaine, I totally respect his service and at least he has some military background, but he is still holding that vietnam grudge. Let it go John you're better than that!
Posted By Anonymous nathan, junction city ks : 2:10 PM ET
All those troops there now had years and this is just getting worse. I don't understand how sending more troops would lower tensions in that area. I see it raising tensions to new levels..does anyone have a real plan?
Posted By Anonymous John Machamer, Upper darby, Pa. 19082 : 2:11 PM ET
Now's the time to send in our "SECRET WEAPON". That would be the IDIOT who asked for this war in the first place.
Back him up by sending his ENTIRE staff and EVERY MEMBER OF CONGRESS that voted in agreement with him.
Give them plenty of encouragement...
Tell them often that they must "STAY THE COURSE"...Then stick them in one of those famous Humvee's with insufficient armor plating...
Then.. Goodbye! AND.. Good Riddence!
Posted By Anonymous R. B. Shepherd, Boston, Mass. : 2:18 PM ET
NATO allies will not provide troops for Iraq since the Bush Administration will trumpet that as support for its policy. Besides, NATO is busy in Afghanistan (and France has been a constant presence there alongside the US). The only way out since the training effort is failing will be to pay the Arab League countries to take over and fix Iraq. I'm sure that the Bank of China has another $1 Trillion in its reserves to lend to the US Treasury for this. And if a qualified leader is needed, maybe Saddam Hussein can apologize and be granted amnesty!
Posted By Anonymous Goauld, Portland, Oregon : 2:20 PM ET
I looked at all these postings and I must say that I am none the wiser to figure out the best "deal" for everyone (US troops and the Iraqis). People are understandably biased in their opinions and want their loved ones to get back home (I agree with a phased withdrawal of the troops as the US presence is not making much of a difference on the current ground situation in Iraq).
For all those people concerned about why this is "OUR fight", please remember that the US went into this fight bluntly disregarding international bodies of governance who opposed the invasion. To demand that the UN and NATO troops to pitch in now is not really a valid expectation in my view.

Finally, I do sincerely hope that we make the most of the gift of life that we all have and create a better place for our kids and grandkids to live in. That, in my opinion will be a legacy that will truly be worthwhile.
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Los Angeles, CA : 2:21 PM ET
I think that we should not be sending any more troops to Iraq. Instead I support a phased withdrawl with Iraqi forces taking over completely. It's there country, not ours and they should lead...
Posted By Anonymous Vanessa, Harrisburg, PA : 2:30 PM ET
I just have a question......... Can some one, any one please tell me what is our president means when he says "Victory" in Iraq or we can't leave until we "win"?
Posted By Anonymous Dexter Green, Ft. Washington, M.D. : 2:36 PM ET
The message sent by the last election was clear to everyone except some Republicans who can not admit that this war was a horrble mistake, get out of Iraq. You can not force democracy on any country, the people have to want it bad enough to fight for it. Iraqis have not shown the willingness to fight. Eight million Iraqis voted in their election, so how can one explain that eight million people can not defeat the "insurgency"? Voting is easy. Fighting is not. By the way, I thought Bush started this war to eliminate WMD's.
Posted By Anonymous Manuel Sousa, Attleboro, MA : 3:06 PM ET
There are three myths that must be addressed before any good discussion about troop levels in Iraq can be had.

1. The war is "winnable" using military force, and we just need more of it.
2. Our reasons for being there in the first place were noble, and in the name of world peace and security.
3. This has nothing to do with the worldwide oil market.

Pragmatically speaking, it is probably not in our best interest to withdraw and possibly lose control of the resources in the region. However, no realistic discussion about Iraq can be had at all until we let go of the above mythology and look at the situation realistically.
Posted By Anonymous Dexter Barrett, Las Vegas, NV : 3:15 PM ET
We need to put more troops in there and should have a long time ago.
If that is not possible, then we need to get out.
There are two things to consider if we stay we need to win. In order to do that we need more troops.
If we pull out we are putting ourselves and the world at risk by letting them use this country and others to train and attack. Over time we will be in grave danger.
We ill need more troops to defend this great country.
So either way we need more troops. In order to do this we will need the draft.
I belive we should have everyone at the age of 18 be mandtory to server at least 2 years in the service.
Posted By Anonymous Pat Gibbons Salem, IN : 3:15 PM ET
We have a responsibility to send more troops. Historically, America has not lived up to the promises of support to the Iraqi people who want change. We need to finally prove we are a country that sticks by it's word.

Also, and more importantly, if we do not stay and do the job, someone else will. But unfortunatly with far worse consequences.
Posted By Anonymous Leigh Ann, Orange, California : 3:21 PM ET
It's all over in Iraq except for more killing. If we leave, the killing will eventually end. If we stay, it will never end. The choice is a no brainer. Unfortunately that is what we have running the government, in the media, and among about 95 % of Americans.
Posted By Anonymous John C Milford, Ct : 3:35 PM ET
There is a VERY COMMON idea when on plays Poker, which is "NEVER throw good money after bad".

The bottom line is if we had a way to win and do this we might consider more troops, but simply to throw more troops into the "meat grinder" of Bagdad and Anbar Province with the "HOPE" that it will "fix the problem" is like raising the call on "a pair of threes", the odds are really against you and you are hoping your opponent is simply too weak to play and we certainly know that is NOT the case in Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Atlanta, GA : 8:15 PM ET
Yeh, let's send more troops to VietNam. Oh, did I make a mistake? I meant Iraq. McCain seems to never have climbed out of his terrible time in our last disastrous war. I am sorry for him that he thinks the answer is to send phantom troops to do an impossible task.
Posted By Anonymous Jerry R. Boggs, Spirit Lake, ID : 8:16 PM ET
Victory in Iraq? These are the same Republicans who have tried to convince everyone that Global Warming is a myth! There will be no victory there.., ever. We don't belong in the Middle East. Terrorists?! Our country is home to the biggest terror organization the world will ever know, The US Government. WMD's?! Bush's mouth, stupidity and greed are the only weapons which matter here. He has bungled his pesidency, and is hell-bent on going out as the most hated US president across BOTH ponds.
Posted By Anonymous Robert/Talahassee, FL : 8:25 PM ET
Get the troops home and start to expend resources on American infrastructure and people!
Posted By Anonymous Joey Laguna Woods, CA : 10:00 PM ET
Send in more troops? Are you all insane? Let's get out before we create any more future little terrorists who hate us for killing their mommy and daddies. I hope the Democrats will spend all this money on securing our borders and increasing our intelligence overseas, instead of starting wars.
Posted By Anonymous Pey, Ventura, CA : 2:54 PM ET
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