Do We Need More Troops?

Robet Kagan, who is one of the most astute writers in international affairs around, makes the argument that we need to have additional troops in Iraq. He makes the argument that neither foreign troops nor the Iraqis can be counted upon to secure the country in time.

Jack Kelly, writing in the Pittsburge Post-Gazette makes a very strong argument that international troops will only hamper the logistics and communications needed to keep Iraq stable. That leaves the United States with only two options: either get more Iraqis on the ground, or bring in more US trooops.

The latter does remain a possibility, although it is only a stopgap solution. More US troops means more targets for militants, and unless troops are being sent to clear out the foreign and Ba’athist fighters free in Iraq the presence of additional troops won’t be a great help to stability. Our troops are not crossing guards and traffic cops, they’re trained and efficient soldiers. They should be acting as soldiers, not as policemen.

The only way out of this situation is to have the Iraqis take more of the responsibility of running their own country. The goal of this undertaking is not to act as the imperialistic stewards of Iraq, but to return the leadership of Iraq to the Iraqi people. If we are unwilling to do so now, when will we? We cannot afford, nor do we want, to take the reigns of Iraq for longer than is necessary. If Iraq is to prosper, they must be allowed to take control of their own destiny.

Furthermore, there are signs that Iraq is hardly in chaos. As Kamil Zogby finds in an intreguing report:

The article [on the arrest of two Saudi suspects arrested on charges related to Friday’s bombing of the Ali Mosque an Najaf] is compellingly interesting, to me, for one reason: "The men were grabbed by a crowd and taken to the nearest police station." Imagine: the Shia are the majority in Iraq, and they were murderd and persecuted by Saddam’s Bathist Sunni regime for decades; then, Bathist henchmen and al-Qaeda terrorists murder the one of the most revered Shia Ayatollahs in Iraqi Shia society, along with over 120 innocent other Shias; then, a large Shia crowd becomes aware that two al-Qaeda mass killers have sent an e-mail saying "mission accomplished: the dog is dead." And, what do they do? They hustle the two characters off to the "nearest police station ." They didn’t kill them on the spot, ripping their limbs from their bodies, and disembowling them on the spot. They brought them to the police! This shows to me, if the story is true, that the majority of Shia want an Iraq that subscribes to rule of law and not the rule of men. They want a society where men are brought to justice by a court and not by mob rule or a dictator’s hired executioners. And, the another reason the crowd may have reacted in such a responsible manner is that someone, their leadership, the imams, directed them to act the way they did, proposing to them that there is a larger goal for the Shias than vengeance. This all good news, if the report is correct, and further bolsters my view that the US did a moral and correct deed by liberating the Iraqi people.

Indeed, this is a positive sign. The vicious attack on the holiest place in the Shi’ite Muslim faith is an action that shows that the foreign terrorists and Ba’athist fighters care more for their own power than for the Islamic faith. Moreover, actions like this show that the bombing, designed to incite a civil war in Iraq, is not having its intended effect. If anything the efforts could well be backfiring on the militants.

The attack only highlights that the US forces and the people of Iraq are united by a common enemy. With that in mind, it is also clear that the people of Iraq are very much willing to see their country back in their own hands as soon as possible. All of this means that if we’re willing to continue to hold our ground, continue to train Iraqi soldiers and police officers, and willing to continue to work with the Iraqis, the situation is likely to become more stable over time, not less.

One thought on “Do We Need More Troops?

  1. Don’t you think it’s a tad early to suggest that the bombing is “not having its intended effect” seeing as how it happened only three days ago. Coups aren’t staged overnight, and frustrations have a way of festering for an extended period before all heck breaks loose.

    And your pipe dream about mandating that Iraqis do the heavy lifting in rebuilding their nation that our Army assured them would be “saved by the kind hand of Western values” is not gonna play well in the real world. Offer the Iraqis enough compensation to become traffic cops and I assure you that you’ll have plenty of takers. Offer them peanuts and you’ll get what you pay for…..and will continue to place trained commandoes on the streets of Baghdad directing taxi cabs instead of thwarting the next round of terrorist bombings that kill dozens of Iraqis and Americans.

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