Livin' it up, American style

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Phased troop withdrawal? That's soooo last week. Now Bush says bring 'em on!

After the midterm elections in November, there was hope that this new Congress would be successful in implementing a phased withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Unfortunately, the opposite has happened, courtesy of President Bush. He has decided to increase the number of troops in Iraq by 21,500. The idea is that this 'surge', as it's being called, will de-escalate the violence in Iraq. I would appreciate it if someone would explain to me how putting 20,000 fighting soldiers with guns and tanks into an already war-torn country is somehow going to de-escalate violence. Seems as though the opposite is likely to happen.

On Wednesday night, Bush gave a public speech to the nation about this new strategy, but was a little vague on some key details. For one thing, he forgot to mention how long the 'surge' of troops would be in Iraq. Maybe he doesn't realize that one of the defining characteristics of a 'surge' is that it is a strong feeling or event that only lasts for a short time. If these troops are staying in Iraq for longer than a couple months, then really he is just plain old 'increasing the number of troops', which polls have shown to be a very unpopular move among the American people. Calling this a surge gives people the image of a temporary increase in troops, and makes it a more politically palpable idea to people who are against permanently sending more troops, even though that is probably what this move will really end up being.

At least Bush has become more open in admitting that maybe things aren't all daisies and lollipops in Iraq, and maybe it's partly his fault. In his speech last night, he said “Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility lies with me”. Of course, he was also quick to blame Iraq and the Iraqi government for the situation there too. The Iraqi government has in the past promised to make reforms in laws and security measures, but as Bush said ""If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises," Bush said, "it will lose the support of the American people -- and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act."

So first we invade the country, destroy the infrastructure, completely redesign their government, occupy the country with 100,000 troops, and when they don't deliver on some security reforms because the country is descending into a chaotic civil war, we blame their weak, puppet government for being ineffective at controlling the country. Then we threaten that if they don't follow through on their promises (which they probably made in the first place under pressure from the US), we threaten they will lose the support of the American people. And then at the same time we say this we send more troops over, despite the fact that every poll says the American people don't support sending more troops. I hate to see what would happen to a place the American people really supported.

And unfortunately, Bush has pretty much made this decision unilaterally. The Congress can't stop him, short of cutting all funding for the war, an unlikely move. Even many of the military generals who have been Bush's advisors throughout the war are against this troop increase. But that's ok. According to the New York Times, when Bush was asked why this new strategy would suceed where all others have failed, Mr. Bush shot back: “Because it has to.” I know I'm reassured.


  • ?Can anyone explain to you how increasing troops is going to help the situation in Iraq?

    > I think there are only a handful of people who can really do that, without spin. In all honesty, none of those handful of people would include arm-chair pundits like yourself.

    The point I am trying to make here is not that increasing troops will help the situation in Iraq. I don't know if it will. I am in the camp of "if we want to find out, there're only two things we can do - Wait and Watch." On the other hand, I am not trying to pursuade anyone that we should not do anything about it either. Protests are fine - by god, they are your land-given rights. My point is, how the hell do you (and all other arm-chair pundits like yourself) know increasing troops is "likely going to escalate the violence"? How do you know "phased redeployment" will solve the problem? What is the problem, by the way? Are you even aware of what's happening in Iraq? The soldiers there sure don't feel you do:

    Just cause Mr. Bush doesn't know doesn't mean you know. And just cause you called His bluff doesn't mean you are right.

    By Blogger Sujan, at 6:49 PM  

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