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December 13, 2006

More Troops

-- by Dave Johnson

So the word is that Bush is planning to send more troops to Iraq. This could be a good strategy if we are sending enough troops to truly secure the country, calm things down, stop the ethnic cleansing and death squads, stop the insurgency, let people just go to work and the park, allow POLICE to investigate crimes and arrest perpetrators and put them in jail, etc. and allow Iraq to develop institutions of justice and government. This was the moral and legal obligation that the Bush warmakers ignored. We could have done this from the start, and didn't.

My question is, how many is enough? If we send enough, it means the violence abates. Seriously, if there are troops on every corner, that has to cut way down on the violence. But if we do not send enough, we're just making things worse. At this point we might be talking about needing at least 400 or 500,000 troops to accomplish this.

So, if we're going to send more, are they going to send enough more? Or is this just another stopgap measure? We all know the answer.

Posted by Dave Johnson at December 13, 2006 1:00 PM

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Comments

Is there some Colbert irony here that I'm missing or are you simply insane? Those really are the only choices.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 13, 2006 2:29 PM

They don't ever like to mention that the first fraudulent Gulf War was done with more than 750,000 troops, and going to Baghdad was a bad idea then. (Even with a real coalition.)

Donald Rumsfailed brought his downsizing/streamlining bidness expertise to the military and designed a war around profit margins.

Do we even have 250,000 combat-ready troops, period?

Posted by: Jenius [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 13, 2006 10:47 PM

The vast majority of Iraqis want us to hightail it out of their country. How much farther can we sink into delusion? We are so defeated; and it seems to be appreciated everywhere else in the world that we have rightly suffered defeat. Only here in America is there this scandal, in which the Turnip Heads in the White House and Pentagon talk about victory. There is no victory for us in Iraq.

Sending more troops will do nothing but sow more bitterness in our domestic politics. More troops? That is an obscene joke.

Violence is never going to abate in Iraq as long as we are there. The chimera of victory is a product which is only sold to chumps. We are way past that now. It's time to salvage what we can, time to apologize to everyone, the way that President Jefferson apologized to those who were injured by The Alien and Sedition Act. It's time to make amends; it's time to go home; it's time to ring down the curtain on this most repulsive page of American history.

Exceptionalism should rightly be dead. We have feet of clay and most everyone across the face of this planet seems to see it. Why shouldn't we?

Posted by: Copeland [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 13, 2006 11:35 PM

Back in the days when people thought the aftermath would be a simple "keep order" for a country that had been traumatized by the decades under Saddam, the number of troops (peace keepers) estimated to be needed by knowledgeable people was set at 400,000 to 500,000 for the estimated 24 Million Iraqs. (Or approximately 1 peacekeeper for every 48-60 people.)

Today, we need to adjust that number for the current population, 22 Million (adjusting for the 1.5 million who have fled the country and the approximately 500,000 people dead which I recognize is very likely an undercount) and the fact that there is no peace to keep.

The next question is how many people (peace makers) does it take to quell genocidal violence once it's started especially if your goal is to minimize the deaths of the innocent people who are caught in the sectarian warfare which means that bombs and bullets must be discouraged? Let's suppose minimizing any more deaths of Iraqis would be one of the requirements of "victory for the Iraqis". Then I'd assume the ratio would be more like 15-30 Iraqis per peace maker.

In my scenario, the requirements would be to separate the combatants and provide enough protection for the innocent Iraqis so they no longer die everyday in Iraq. BTW I assume that women and children under 12 would not need extra peace makers because they would not be part of the radicalized Iraqis who need to be separated to stop the violence. If that assumption was wrong, we'd need even more peace makers to support the goal.

So by books that means we'd need to have some 733,000 to 1,467,000 troops (peace makers) to quell the violence in a way that minimizes the deaths of both the Iraqis and our soldiers. And once the violence is quelled, we still would face years of working with the doubly traumitized Iraqis so they can build enough trust of each other to operate as a nation.

Note: In my scenario, overwhelming force means lots of human beings (not bombs) stepping in to stop the killings and making it worth the while for the various sides to come to the negotiation table because they will no longer be able to use violence to win a bigger share.

My other assumption is that the peace makers would put the welfare of the Iraqis (all Iraqis) in the highest category so they would earn the trust and buyin that would make it possible to really stop the violence and build a real country.

Finally, the pool for peace makers can be broader than just the US -- the key point is earning trust because the stated goal (stopping the violence, helping the Iraqis get past their own vicious cycle of violence) was the actual goal.

Posted by: Mary [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 14, 2006 1:28 AM

I listened to an interview with a Marine who said the US Marines are the best in the world at what they are trained to do: blow things up and kill people. They are a light, quick strike force which is meant to hit hard, hit fast, and take out the intended target.
They were not meant to be garrison troops or to man roadblocks or rebuild schools or train foreign troops or be diplomats for the American Way or to do any number of a dozen things they are not intended to do since they have achieved their primary mission in Iraq.
The National Guard has a similar argument that they are basically a stateside force that helps civil authorities in catastrophes and during periods of unrest but remain first, a state based resource and secondly, ready reserves for the regular military in the case of unforeseen need for more troops.
Since GWB has depleted our military (figure it for yourself just for the Marines, about 678,000 Marine personnel to cover all the missions they have been committed to and in Iraq, there have been about 600 Marines KIA and another 6,000 WIA.
Each one of these represents years of training and knowledge and experience lost forever and a raw recruit is not a true replacement. I doubt we can scrap up another 2,000 combat ready Marines since a draft is just not in the cards)
At this point, I guess GWB and McCain will have to call up the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts and the Cub Scouts to fill 40,000 boots on the ground. (Maybe the Brownies too)

Posted by: entlord [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 14, 2006 10:56 AM

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