Viewpoint

Heath Gordon

Bush has recently revealed two major policy changes regarding the war on Iraq. Before the end of 2006, Bush stated, “we are not winning the war on Iraq”. Just this Tuesday, different media reported that he and the Pentagon were committing 20,000 – 24,000 more troops to the Baghdad area.
I believe that Bush is on the right track with the increased commitment of troops; however, it is too little too late.
Whatever your politics, there is no denying that the war in Iraq is not going well. Warring religious sects are pushing the country towards civil war, troop and civilian deaths are steadily mounting and the administration is being constantly called into question for corruption or general mishandling of the conflict.
If our mission in Iraq truly is peace, then our only option, however unfortunate, is to increase our troop count drastically. To remove our troop presence, even over the course of several years, means almost certain civil war in the region.
This will cause, in addition to civilian deaths nationwide, an extremely hostile situation for our troops in the region. The effect it would have on the entire Middle Eastern region cannot be predicted at this point, but needless to say, it won’t be pretty.
A 1999 study done in secret by the government, just released at the end of last year, found that it would take no fewer than 400,000 troops to secure Iraq and effectively police the country. Even that number may not be enough. The current troop levels in Iraq number somewhere around 145,000.
Unfortunately our troop levels are already strained worldwide, and this addition will mean extended second tours for many men and women. However, if we are truly committed to any attempt at getting Iraq under control, we must focus on a consistent and broad troop increase coupled with foreign aid packages to the Baghdad area with the intention of rebuilding infrastructure and training an Iraqi-run police force.
Once Baghdad is under control, then we can figure out what to do with Iraq as a whole.

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