President Bush plans to send 20,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq, essentially giving the finger to the American electorate which had just shown the GOP its extreme dissatisfaction with the NeoCons’ war. Bush failed to follow the advice of the non-partisan Iraq study group, let alone Congress, where even Republicans are trying to disassociate themselves from the president and his war.
The problem with the war in Iraq is that, as Bush himself made clear in his address to the nation (available at whitehouse.gov), victory does not depend on the U.S. military; it depends on and is defined by the people of Iraq. Twenty thousand troops cannot end ancient cultural conflicts, rebuild infrastructure or create an economy.
The danger of this “new way forward in Iraq,” which seems eerily similar to “staying the course,” is not just in that it will be ineffective. We simply do not have the manpower to continue the president’s war. The military is maxed out as it is.
The Boston Globe (boston.com/news/globe) on Jan. 10 reported that new recruitment is so low that we would have to redeploy those of our nation’s finest who have already spent a year or more in the hellish desert. We have already demanded enough of those brave men and women, as 20 percent of Iraqi veterans come home with “serious mental health problems,” according to the same article.
In short, “the new way forward” will just fuel what has already been a very deadly mistake.