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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, December 04, 2006

More Boots On The Ground

Today, the Wall Street Journal,/li> is talking about this issue, and why it is gaining some momentum:

As demands mount to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq, a growing number of senior military officials are arguing that the only way to salvage the situation is to add more U.S. forces and more U.S. money.

Outside the military, most of the debate is focused on a U.S. troop withdrawal. But inside the Pentagon, the recent dismissal of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has given some new life to arguments by military officers who say the U.S. must pour more troops and money into the country to expand the Iraqi army -- the one institution in Iraq that has shown some promise -- and stabilize the capital.

Right now there are about 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. Though there are no firm plans for an increase, some military officials said that as many as 30,000 more troops could be needed. Most of the U.S. troops would be focused on patrolling Baghdad and training the Iraqi Army.

During his tenure Mr. Rumsfeld largely rejected calls for sending in more Americans, countering that Iraqis should take on more security responsibility faster. He was backed in his approach by Gen. John Abizaid, the senior military commander in the Middle East, and Gen. George Casey, the top commander in Iraq. The two generals have argued publicly that the U.S. goal must be to bolster Iraqi Army forces as quickly as feasible.

It isn't clear how much longer the two commanders -- both of whom have served long, grueling tours -- will stay in their jobs. Even before Mr. Rumsfeld's dismissal, the Bush administration was laying plans to replace them as early as this summer. The job of selecting their successors will now fall to Robert Gates, Mr. Bush's nominee to run the Pentagon, who could choose his own team or extend current tours. How hard new commanders might be willing to press to redouble the U.S. commitment in Iraq could have a major effect on U.S. policy going forward.

Even with new leadership in the Pentagon and Iraq, big barriers remain to boosting the size of the U.S. force. Any move to do so will draw the ire of the new Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill. Multiple reviews of U.S. policy in Iraq also seem poised to recommend that the U.S. start to disengage from Iraq.

Secretary Rumsfeld did not want us getting bogged down in Iraq. Rather than overwhelming force, Secretary Rumsfeld preferred a fast moving, hard-hitting apparatus. Right now we have about 140,000 troops in country, and there are talks about increasing that size by 30,000 more, and making a serious push for Baghdad. The problem that we see with this idea is in recent months, the White House has shown itself to be less than willing to do what is necessary. Last Wednesday and Thursday should have been called "al-Sadr/Iran/Syria" days here at The Asylum because those were the subjects sitting foremost in the news and on our minds. The key one there being Moqtada al-Sadr.

For a long time that man has enjoyed not only his freedom, but the support he has received from al-Maliki. The time is coming where that will have to end, even if this upsets the Iraqi prime minister. Whether al-Maliki likes it or not, his "friend" is an Iranian terrorist, and he has got to go. He is a walking, talking, breathing embodiment of the Iranian idea; a cleric who has dealt swift shari'a justice when he has felt it necessary. And the Iraqis turn a blind eye to his actions, and invite him into thier fold. He must go.

Another point the WSJ makes is that the Democrats in Congress did camapaign on withdrawing troops from the region. An increase is not likely to be met with fanfare from the Democrats, and there is a distinct chance they will say no, and further emphasize ythe point by cutting some of the funding for the Iraq mission, ultimately forcing a withdrawal. Generals Abizaid and Casey still believe they can win over there, and the group of senior commanders at the Pentagon seem to have come up with a plan for taking and securing Baghdad, and allowing the Iraqi military to deal with the violence around the country. We have yet to see that plan, so its feasibility is in question right now.

In the end, it comes down to what Mark Steyn has said: "This ... isn't an argument for more war, more bombing, or more killing, but for more will." Indeed, it seems to us that the White House is losing that battle of wills right now. With critics all around him, the president has made a couple of mistakes recently, and most notably it is to not push the al-Sadr issue with al-Maliki. And that is the ultimate question left for us. Do we have the will to see this through, or is this all for naught now? I do hope it is not the latter in this case.At the same time, I would prefer the Democrats keep silent on this, and give the administration one, last shot to secure Iraq.



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