Thursday, December 14, 2006

Would 15,000-30,000 More Troops Really Make A Difference In Iraq?

John McCain thinks so:

BAGHDAD (AP) — Sen. John McCain said Thursday that America should deploy 15,000 to 30,000 more troops to Iraq to control its sectarian violence, and give moderate Iraqi politicians the stability they need to take the country in the right direction.

McCain made the remarks to reporters in Baghdad, where he and five other members of Congress were meeting with U.S. and Iraqi officials.

"The American people are disappointed and frustrated with the Iraq war, but they want us to succeed if there's any way to do that," McCain, a possible 2008 presidential candidate, said at a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

Susan Collins, traveling with McCain, Holy Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham to Iraq, thinks it's too little, too late for sending any more troops to Iraq and having a long-term positive outcome:

"Iraq is in crisis. The rising sectarian violence threatens the very existence of Iraq as a nation," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. The current U.S. strategy in Iraq has failed, but "I'm not yet convinced that additional troops will pave the way to a peaceful Iraq in a lasting sense," she said.

"My fear is that if we have more troops sent to Iraq that we will just see more injuries and deaths, that we might have a short-term impact, but without a long-term political settlement," Collins said.

John McCain knows it's too little, too late to send 15,000-30,000 more troops to Iraq and have anything change for the good long-term. He's simply positioning himself for 2008 as the guy who can say "Hey - don't blame me for the Iraq mess, 'cause no one took my advice to escalate."

Which just shows what a fucking scumbag and soulless politician McCain has become.

For escalation to have any chance to work, the United States would have to get SERIOUS and send in 100,000-200,000 troops for the long-term, settle down security in Anbar Province and Baghdad, clear and hold the whole country, get rid of the militia problem, and put a serious crimp into the operations of the Sunni insurgency. Even then, there would be no guarantee of success; perhaps sending in that force number would actually make things worse by ratcheting up the already high anti-American sentiment among Iraqis. Not to mention that the problems are as much political and religious in Iraq as they are military anyway, so who's to say a larger American occupation could actually help forge a long-term political solution?

The point is moot, of course, because we don't have the available troops and the American people wouldn't support such a policy anyway. Plus the time for sending more troops in is long past - that was back in 2003 and 2004 when the administration was still denying there was an insurgency or a problem in Iraq. To be fair, McCain was quite critical of the administration's handling of the war back then and was imploring the preznit to send in more troops when it would have still helped. But McCain's press conference today was nothing but cheap politics aimed at the wingers in the '08 primaries - and that makes him scummy in my book.

Would a drop of green in a sea of blue make any difference?

I hate it when people answer questions with questions, but I couldn't resist.
pt, your question answering my question is justified. Susan Collins basically asked the same thing.

We've talked about this before, you and I. We both were against this particular war. We both have been highly critical of the way it has been run. Now the thing is to find a way out that causes the least amount of damage. Would sending in another 15,000-30,000 troops do that? I don't think so.

I'm really starting to think that McCaffrey's op-ed in the Post the other day may be as good an idea as any. I don't think pulling all 150,000 troops out tomorrow is such a good idea. But I don't want to to keep them there forever either. I agree w/ McCaffrey that the Iraqi police forces and military cannot be trusted and I asl oagree that we should not keep American trainers in Iraq without sufficient force to protect them. So perhaps pulling out some CBTs completely and pulling the rest into American bases away from the cities while the trainers complete the ir missions can work. Unfortunately, it also leaves the impression that we are creating permanent military bases their, a la Guantanamo, and that could be problem too.

I dunno. it's a mess and my point throughout this has been that the people who created and enabled this mess (the WH, the neocons, the press - especially Friedman, Brooks, and the other cheerleaders - must be made to pay a price for creating the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history. The WH is paying a price - they've lost the Congress, they're at 32% approval, the talk is that Bush is the worst preznit ever. But so far, the Friedmans and the Brooks have paid no price for advocating and cheerleading this war without sufficiently performing any oversight function. And that, to me, is problematic. Because it means they'll still be around for the next time.
Good points all around.

It seems no one is paying any price other than the soldiers and their families. No one in America that is. The economy continues to soar, the tax breaks have not been rolled back. No one is being asked to do a damn thing except go further into debt buying stuff to keep the economy going.

I plan to write about this "total disconnect" but have not found sufficient time.

Yes, the question is what to do now, but those who chose to go forward with this war should be answering that question.

You and I were against this war from the beginning because somewhere in our minds, somehow, we saw this coming: the chaos, the intractablility of the whole thing. We knew that it would be like grabbing a wolf by the ears, and now here we are.

I dunno what to do either, which is why I don't advocate grabbing wolves by their ears.

I'm sick about it, really, but I just don't know what to do. As bad as it sounds, it seems like stand and bleed is the only option. It sucks, but it is the least painful of all the options on the table.
the United States would have to get SERIOUS and send in 100,000-200,000 troops for the long-term...

Yep...that's what the 1999 war simulation (buried and then ignored by Bu$hCo) showed, and it probably won't happen...sending more troops I mean. But do you really think McCain will get a buy on this 15K to 30K proposal? There's enough evidence out there to show that it's plainly ludicrous. The MSM and/or his opponent just need to be willing to go after him over a pitbull.
Good point Kvatch,

Imagine him trying to wheel that plan out say, 18 months from now.

Laughable at best.
To answer the question in your title - Yes, absolutely. It would increase the body count on both sides.
Well, RBE, here is another rare moment where I totally agree with you. We do NOT need more troops in Iraq. McCain, I have always maintained, is a complete asswipe and an ineffective politician. He's one of the old republican guards, much alike the ilk of James Baker, but me not liking Baker either has much ado with the reason I don't like McCain, either. Both of them dance to the beat of the same drum, and that drum is called Dhimmitude.
kvatch, I think some of the media gloss is off McCain since he started hiring Bushies and chatting up Falwell, Dobson, etc., but Tweety Bird Matthews and the rest are still too impressed w/ the service and the POW thing to ever REALLY take him on and expose his political hypocrisy.

abi, point taken.

Steve, explain to me, if you will, where Reagan and Goldwater would stand in your hierarchy of republicans. I'm not being snarky here. I'm serious. I understand you don't like Baker (too U.N./diplomacy-oriented) and I know many conservatives are distrustful of McCain. But I need a primer on what the current feeling is for Reagan and Goldwater because I suspect they wouldn't be signing on to the George W. Bush program.
"But I need a primer on what the current feeling is for Reagan and Goldwater because I suspect they wouldn't be signing on to the George W. Bush program."

Since I'm heading out the door in a sec to Charlottesville for some shopping, I will also agree that neither Goldwater nor Bush would sign on, either. Reagan would be telling Bush he's making a mistake by allowing Baker to dictate foreign policy in the first place, and Barry the same.

I happen to be a conservative that isn't that fond of Bush, but knock on wood, we haven't had a single attack on our soil since the American airlines flight that crashed in Brooklyn.

As far as the war in Iraq goes, I am against pulling them out altogether, but placing more troops in Iraq will:

1. Increase the death toll. We're not fighting a conventional war in Iraq, and sadly, the Pentagon has yet to wake up and agree to that;

2. Send the wrong message to the Iraqis. They will slack off even more and will not hold any responsibilities for themselves.

3. Only exacerbate the situation there even worse.

I'd call this one a definite quagmire myself.

Any president that cites Islam as a religion of peace is no friend of mine.
Steve, check out Fareed Zakaria's latest column in Newsweek on how democracy does work in Muslim countries where modernity is embraced (he uses Turkey as an example), but how it is difficult to establish in countries where Arab minorities and opposition have been crushed by decades of brutal rule (he uses Iraq, Egypt and Saudia Arabia as examples there.) Here's the link:

As for the current state of the Iraq war, I agree w/ your assessment.

I would just say this about the lack of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 - remember that the jihadis waited 7 years between the first WTC attack and the attempted Millenium attack in LA. Given what we know about how the current administration has run both the Iraq war and the Katrina response, I'm not so reassured that they're the reasons why we haven't been attacked lately. (BTW, do I read from your comment that you think the airplane crash in Rockaway Queens in November 2001 was a terrorist attack?)
RBE, thanks for providing that link. I checked out the article. However, this part stunned me:

"Look for example at two non-Arab countries, Malaysia and Turkey, whose people are conservative and religious Muslims. Both places are also reasonably successful economies, open societies and functioning democracies. As a result, they don't produce swarms of suicide bombers."

Well, so far, they don't, but I wouldn't call Malaysia as being a true Democracy because Sharia Law is in power there. If you understand the nature and ideology of Sharia (Muslim) law, you must agree that it is not a very Democratic process.

Turkey on the other hand is preferentially Sunni-driven and is actually the most secular Muslim nation, but I wouldn't exactly applaud Turkey as being all that Democratic either.

Regarding attacks on U.S. soil and the timelines between such attacks as a primer for attacks from al-Qaida, maybe you're right, or maybe we're just lucky, but the fact remains. Now, from my perspective, let's say we had Kerry as president. Do you think we'd be any safer? Matter of fact, I really do NOT think we're all that safe, considering all of the pandering that's been going on with our enemies over the past six years.

Bottom line, we need a TOUGHER government, a president with BALLS. Name one. I bet you can't. I can't either - no matter from what side of the political arena he/she may be at. I could rage on all night with this response, but my first recommendation would be for us to STOP PANDERING and KOW-TOWING to the Muslims. We owe them nothing. NOTHING. We owe no apologies. NOTHING (this is turning into a rant; now you know my sensitive side).

Regarding my comment about the Rockaway Queens crash (I said Brooklyn so maybe I was wrong) but yes, I strongly believe that the crash was the result from a terrorist attack. Maybe that's just the conspiracy theorist in me, but I really hold doubt on that one.
(BTW, do I read from your comment that you think the airplane crash in Rockaway Queens in November 2001 was a terrorist attack?)

This is good dialogue. We need this, even though we're naturally in opposition. Why can't our federal government be this way.
Steve, I grew up in Rockaway and went to school right up the street from where the plan crashed. I knew the families who lost people in the crash on the ground.

I'm not sure what I think about the crash. To be honest, I am almost always dubious of what my government tells me (whether its GWB or BC in the White House), so I would be open to hearing theories that the plane was brought down by terrorism. It did seem odd that the plane was brought down two months to the day after 9/11 and I'm not sure the "wind shear" theory satsifies me for the reason behind the crash.

I agree that Sharia Law is horrific. I think Zakaria was using Malaysia and Turkey as a comparison to Syria, Egypt, Saudia Arabia, Iran et al. Small baby steps on the democracy front maybe? Anyway, I thought the article was interesting and I thought you might find it so as well.

I actually agree w/ you about Kerry as well. Watching him during the campaign and watching him during 2006, I have to say that he would have made an awful president and I'm glad he lost. Which doesn't mean I'm happy w/ the current guy. I really see GWB as a combo of Jimmy Carter's ineptitude and LBJ's hubristic foreign and economic policies - far from the conservative he sold himself as in 2000.

I also agree that the dialogue is good. Thanks for stopping by.
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