Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: The Surge in General .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Surge in General


no·blesse o·blige ["naw-bless aw-bleezh"] noun. The moral obligation of those of high birth, powerful social position, etc. French, literally meaning: "Nobility is an obligation."

In his address to the nation last week, the president told us that the way to win in Iraq is to send more troops. For those in the armed forces, this is not good news; those who are currently serving in Iraq have been there way too long already, and there aren’t enough troops not in Iraq to cover the 21,500 additional troops needed to occupy Iraq for the next few years in order for dubya’s plan to succeed.

And I use the term "plan" very loosely, since the strategy proposed is really nothing more than what’s been tried and retried for the past three years - clear, hold, and build. We’ve been pretty good at the "clearing" part, but we’re stuck getting a handle on the holding stage. As soon as we clear an area, we move on to another, and the insurgents just move back in after we’re gone.

According to the report on which Bush is basing his strategy, we’ll need at least 30,000 additional troops, along with extending the tours of those already in Iraq, for at least 18 months in order to clear, hold, and build Baghdad and the western Anbar province. Bush, in his speech, mentioned little about the mission, and neglected to say how long the additional troops would be in Iraq, leading us to believe that they’ll be there indefinitely, regardless of his claim that it would not be an "open-ended" occupation. This is a double-edged sword for Bush, as Sen. John McCain, one of the most vocal supporters of the escalation, says that a short term increase in troops will not have the desired effect - namely, victory.

In addition to the lack of a clearly defined mission, the Bush administration faces a dilemma that could cause his dismal approval ratings to drop even further. According to the AEI Plan for Success in Iraq (on which the "surge" strategy is based), Bush must call for a "national commitment to victory", including a "personal call for young Americans to volunteer to fight in the decisive conflict of this generation". Since dubya rarely makes any personal calls to anyone with income levels that will not benefit his coffers, the report must be talking about enlisting some of these armchair warmongers who have been hyping the war all along. A few prospects come to mind, including Kagan himself, who is of enlistment age, and the next generation in the Bush clan , including his daughters and Jeb’s children - all of enlistment age - yet the entire family is vastly underrepresented in the ranks of the armed forces.

Those who support the war, but feel they can better support the effort by drumming up acceptance stateside, need to re-evaluate their role - we don’t need more people cheering the war on at home, we need them in the trenches. Right wing bloggers, College Republicans, and war supporters of all economic classes need to do more than stick a magnetic ribbon on their car. It’s time to put up or shut up.

This surge, which in reality will be an escalation, is more of a political strategy than a military one. Basically, the Bush administration needs to appear to have resolve. Yeah, yeah, we get it, dub. You can be stubborn, and ignore the counsel of the commanding officers in Iraq, the Iraq Study Group, and Congress, as long as you get in the history books as a war president. Well, guess what? We already have a lot of war presidents in our history books, and almost none of them are remembered with respect or admiration.

The president’s choice of referring to his strategy as a troop surge, rather than an escalation of forces, is important to note.

A CBS poll released Monday found that only 18 percent of Americans support an escalation of forces in Iraq. However, when asked whether they support a "short-term troop increase," the number jumps to 45 percent approval (48 percent disapproval).

Rather than escalating the occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration should be planning for the long term: Increase the effort of training Iraqi troops and police, provide long-term economic benefits for a moderate Iraqi government, and use a diminishing occupation force not to clear and hold, but to train and build. These are basically the recommendations of outgoing military commanders (those who have less to lose by openly disagreeing with the commander-in-chief) and the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan effort led by Bush appointee James Baker.

Now that dubya’s minions no longer have complete control of our government, some Democrats are talking about blocking funding for additional troops. Although Republican
talking points
refer to this as lack of support for our soldiers, it should be noted that financial support of our existing troops will not be affected. The money that will be denied will solely be the funding required to send more of America’s finest into the meat grinder that is Iraq.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., charged that what Democrats really want to do is cut off funding for the troops, something Democrats have denied. McConnell threatened to block any legislation expressing disapproval of the buildup plan.

McConnell conceded that GOP lawmakers as well as Democrats are troubled by Bush's new policy, but he said, "Congress is completely incapable of dictating the tactics of the war."

Kettle, meet pot. Congress may be incapable of dictating war tactics, but so is the one who’s calling the shots now. Those who are capable - Generals in the field, and the Iraq study group - are being largely ignored.

As a veteran and the parent of a child currently serving in the military, I say, "enough is enough". Stop sending America’s finest to die for the ego of a "man" who dodged his own obligation to fight in a war that his commander-in-chief deemed necessary for the advance of democracy. When dubya encourages his own children and those of his supporters to enlist and fight in what he deems a necessary war, then I might consider changing my views. But as long as he continues to throw our children at a losing fight, he will do so without my support, and with as much opposition as I can muster.

Support our troops. Bring them home safely so they can protect us from real dangers, not imaginary dangers invented by warmongers to maintain their power and fill the coffers of their cronies.

3 Comments:

  • good year

    By Blogger CHIC-HANDSOME, at 6:53 PM  

  • I'm frustrated by the idea that Congress is going to be voting on a non binding resolution. Instead of hitting Bush in the budget - they're afraid of being accused of not supporting the troops. But for God's sake, how can financing the continuation of this horrible mistake be seen as supporting the troops?

    By Blogger LaPopessa, at 7:54 PM  

  • Of course they are going for a non-binding. They are all smoke and mirror liberals.
    Check out the photo blog: US Torture and Atrocities

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:38 AM  

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