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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Boots on the Ground in Iraq

A few interesting articles in todays news caught my eye concerning the troop levels and the way forward in Iraq. Naturally the president is looking for some new ideas, a path toward success and in a conflict where much has already been tried, the methods now have to have the element of "new" and practical and one that fits with the concept of "the need to succeed", not the need to accept defeat.

“Victory in Iraq is achievable,” Mr. Bush said, addressing reporters in the ornate Indian Treaty Room across the street from the White House, in a historic office building once used by the Navy. He added, “Our goal remains a free and democratic Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself and is an ally in the war on terror.”

The Wapo article states that the uniformed leadership opposes a troops surge without a clear mission... that makes sense and as I pointed out yesterday, this is their job.

The tension between the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff over the proposed troop increase has come to dominate the administration's post-election search for a new strategy in Iraq. The uniformed leadership has opposed sending additional forces without a clear mission, seeing the idea as ill-formed and driven by a desire in the White House to do something different even without a defined purpose.

Then we have yet another article, stating that Gates is in Iraq, meeting with the troops on the ground and getting the opinion of those actually fighting and risking their lives.

"Sir I think we need to just keep doing what we're doing," Spc. Jason T. Green, with the 101st Military Intelligence Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division, told Gates during a breakfast session with about 15 U.S. soldiers.

"I really think we need more troops here," Green said. "With more presence on the ground, more troops might hold them off long enough to where we can get the Iraqi Army trained up."

The troops may be somewhat at odds with military commanders, who worry that rushing thousands more Americans to the battlefront could prompt Iraqis to slow their effort to take control of their country.

Those concerns are "clearly a consideration" in mapping out future strategy, Gates said.

His hour-long question-and-answer session with troops over scrambled eggs was largely spent gathering insights from those closest to the action.

When he asked them whether adding forces would help, he got a roomful of nods.

"More troops would help us integrate the Iraq Army into patrols more," said Pfc. Cassandra Wallace, from the 10th Mountain Division.

It does look like there will be a troop increase alongside of a plan to utilize the additional troops in a manner that will help bring the stability to the country that is needed so that the Iraqi's can acheieve a political solution without rampant killing surrounding them.

In other news, General Abizaid is retiring in March of 2007 and although I will be sad to see him go, after all he was the one that slapped Hillary Clinton down in their exchange where she said "General, hope is not a Method" and Abizaid shot right back with "I would say that despair is not a method"..... so,yes, I will be sad to see him go...BUT considering the fact that we need a new direction, not just sending more troops to Iraq, but a clear cut mission with the authority to cut the militias down without interference and get the job done, perhaps new eyes are needed in that position also. I am NOT blaming Abizaid for anything, he is a good man and has done his job to the best of his ability, but there comes a time when new eyes and a different method is called for.

The need to succeed.... something that many forget. Failure is unacceptable because it will lead us to a far worse situation in a few years and to those that disagree, just look at Lebanon, Iran and Syria. Look to Ahmadinejad's words about Israel, the US and the UK disappearing from the world.

For those that cannot see beyond Iraq, open your eyes, Iraq is simply one front in a larger war.

The war on terror. Have we forgotton the feeling in the pits of our stomachs on 9/11, seeing the destruction, the American lives wasted and knowing.... extremists have declared war on the US.

Which brings me to Bin Laden. Does anyone actually think that if we capture or kill Bin Laden TODAY, that all will be well and that no one will ever attack us again? Is anyone really that naive? He is a figurehead and I, like everyone else, would love to see this man captured or killed as soon as possible.... but I am not under any false illusions that with his demise our world will be terror free.

The need to succeed... we MUST succeed, not just in Iraq, but we must also stop Ahmadinejad from supplying weapons to the Iraqi militias, stop him from handing money to Hamas to encourage them to continue sending rockets into Israel etc... We need to stop him from continuing to do everything in his power to destabilize the whole Middle East.

“Victory in Iraq is achievable,” Mr. Bush said, addressing reporters in the ornate Indian Treaty Room across the street from the White House.

What else IS Bush supposed to say? He is the president, we are in a war on terror. He is saying what he must say and all I can hope for, is with all the mistakes that have been made (Yes, see, I CAN admit that mistakes have been made) that we DO come up with a clearcut mission that will guarantee success.

The only other option is simply sit here and wait for the next attack on our soil and that option is completely unacceptable.

Others discussing this:
Don Surber.
Jules Crittenden.
The Thomas Chronicles.

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