Thursday, January 18, 2007
Anger and Despair about Iraq
Mr. Bush has decided that we should put more troops in Iraq on a temporarily or “surge” basis. We have about 150,000 there now; he will increase that number by a paltry 20,000. If we believe the sacked general’s estimate, the increase should be at least 350,000, or more than tripling the number of troops we now have in Iraq. By now the number required to occupy and control the country may be even more than the half million that was proposed in 2002.
Why, instead of toying with a mere 20,000 additional troops, doesn’t the President come clean and admit that the original assessment was utterly wrong and that we now need close to 400,000 additional troops and not a “surge” but a permanent enlargement of our armed forces? The answer is obvious: the American Public wouldn’t stand for it. The public doesn’t like sending an additional 20,000 men there, but that number is small enough that the President can do it by merely reassigning troops that are at present stationed elsewhere or by lengthening tours of duty and shortening periods of rest and repair between tours.
Thus, an enlargement of 20,000 is possible without public support. An increase of 400,000 is not possible. To justify the 20,000 the President goes on TV to show the public that he, at least, is sincere in his belief that “victory” in Iraq is absolutely necessary for our national security and that he will do whatever is in his power, with or without public support, to keep trying to achieve that victory. He admits that the nation is in a hole. His solution is to keep digging, perhaps with a different shovel.
I can guess his real intent. If this nation has to give up on its crusade to bring democracy and enlightenment to Iraq, Mr. Bush will postpone the moment that giving up is decided until the next President is in office. Losing Iraq will be the fault of the next President. Probably it will be a Democrat. Then the Democrats and the lily-livered liberals can be blamed for losing Iraq and Republicans will be back in favor again and the big oil companies can continue drilling for oil, the big insurance companies can continue bilking Americans out of affordable health care, the big power companies can be exempted from pollution controls, the inheritance tax (“death tax”) can finally be repealed, and taxes on wealthy people can be reduced still further.
I am very angry.