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The Surge is Too Little Too Late

by Andrew Chulock

The recent decision by President Bush to send a so called “surge” of 20,000 troops to Iraq is not the solution to the present quagmire in Iraq and in fact creates more problems on the ground. In a guerilla type war such as being fought by the insurgents in Iraq, in which suicide bombers strike seemingly at random around a dense urban core, the addition of 20,000 more troops is like sending 20,000 more targets for the insurgents to take aim at. The time for sending additional troops should have been at the outset and in numbers far greater than the 20,000 that the president has sent.

In Operation Desert Storm, where the mission was merely to eject Iraq’s forces from Kuwait, the U.S. had 500,000 troops deployed, in addition to the 160,000 troops sent by our allies. Remember, we never occupied Iraq during that war, yet in the present war we only have 153,000 (source:McClathy Washington Report http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/16616389.htm). With the recent British withdrawl, even with the additional 20,000 troops surge, the total number of combined U.S. and allied forces in the region are less than 200,000.

Unlike most Democrats who are in favor of timetables for withdrawing the troops, however, I maintain that it is not too late too win this war and that withdrawing the troops anytime soon will create far more bloodshed than if we maintain the present course, which is also not a good solution. To call up a far greater number that the present surge, in the order of at least 150,000 troops is what is needed to stabilize the situation that has become complete chaos on a daily basis in Iraq.

If we cannot call up this many troops, an overwhelming presence in which the insurgents can hardly move without a U.S. soldier breathing down his neck, then the daily carnage we witness on television will continue unabated until a future President finally calls it quits and we simply withdraw in a Viet Nam style retreat. The consequences of such a retreat would be disastrous to the United Sates on many fronts, not the least of which would be an Iranian style theocracy controlling the oil of Iraq, which sits on the second largest reserves on the planet. Gas could easily be $6 a gallon in such a scenario and would wreck havoc with our economy. The price of food and other essentials could likewise triple overnight.

If you think there is a civil war in Iraq now, that is tantamount to a rock scissors paper contest in relation to what would erupt after we withdraw. The Shiites, who greatly outnumber the Sunni’s. and have lived under Sunni rule for decades under Sadaam, would not have us to stand in the way of an attempt to wipe out their rivals. Sadaam was the only entity able to stand in the way of these two factions prior to our invasion.

If the Shiites prevailed after a bloody civil war in setting up an Iranian style theocracy most likely there would be an Iranian-Iraqi de facto super state which would be a safe harbor for terror and whose combined resources, in terms of oil revenue, intellectual potential for furthering nuclear programs, and dedicated followers willing to commit suicide in the name of their religion to destroy us would be the result.

Clearly, then, we cannot pull out of Iraq in the near future. That being said, we cannot allow our soldiers to be sitting ducks in an environment where the enemy does not wear a uniform, answers to no government, recognizes no Geneva convention, and has no regard for its own life, let alone anyone else’s.

The answer is not a band aid when you are bleeding profusely. The 20,000 troop surge is just that, a band aid. What we need is a troop surge in meaningful numbers, and the sooner the better.


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