Monday, January 08, 2007

Why A Troop Increase Isn’t That Bad of an Idea

Lots of talk has been made lately of the majority Republican idea of sending more troops to Iraq in an attempt to quell terrorism once and for all. Democrats (most of them at least) want us to pull out of Iraq and come home so that not one more soldier will die, or something like that. My real guess at what the democrats want is for the troops to come home so John Kerry will stop putting his foot in his mouth when he refers to them thus making potential voters angry. So here we are with two options but still without a real plan so if I may offer my two cents on the topic we’ll see if we can’t clear up a few issues.

As you already deciphered from the title of this post I am in favor of a troop increase and think it will help enormously as long as the troops are put to good use. My support for a troop increase stems from some of my experiences while in Iraq on my second yearlong tour with the army.

The town I was based in was somewhat of a model for all Arab Iraqi towns. I say Arab Iraqi towns because a true model for Iraq would be that of the Kurdish areas but since Arabs do not play nicely with Kurds we’ll take what we can get. Sometime before I arrived there the town I was in was a haven for terrorists. Due to the effort of many brave American and Iraqi soldiers the town had been cleaned up and was for the most part about as safe as you can get in Iraq. Since the town was safe, reconstruction efforts were able to get underway which in turn allowed the inhabitants of the city to see the benefit of not allowing terrorists to operate in their midst. It is simple mathematics: 2+2=4 and no terrorists=better quality of life.

When water starts flowing and schools start opening up, among many other things, people realize that we are not the Great Satan that they once thought we were. They understand that we really are there to do as we said we were four years ago. We don’t want their oil; we want to make it flow better. We don’t want to indoctrinate their kids; we want to open up schools so they can learn and make their own decisions. We only need the time and cooperation of the local population to make these things happen.

With more troops in Iraq I believe we would better be able to secure towns and allow reconstruction to happen on a larger scale. I mentioned that we cannot simply send more troops into country with the hopes of everything magically getting better but that they must be put to good use. Much has been made about the Rules of Engagement (ROE) being too strict thus hamstringing our troops from adequately doing their job and I agree. I have mentioned several times before about instances when I thought twice about doing something simply because I was worried if what I was going to do fell within the limitations of the ROE. While soldiers need to learn and memorize the ROE, the ROE need to be relaxed if we ever hope of truly crushing the terrorists. We need to be allowed to walk into any Mosque at any time to search it since they have generally been places for terrorists to hide their weapons caches. We need to come up with a standardized set of rules for Iraqis to follow when around soldiers so that anything out of the ordinary will be easily recognizable. These suggestions among many possible others should go into effect along with any troop increase that might happen in Iraq.

More troops is only part of the answer, and while it is a major part, we also need to fix the ROE. Fighting wars by political means has never worked in the past and it will not now. We need to let our war fighters do their jobs and that means having the politicians in Washington sit out of the meetings when the new ROE are drawn up. So by all means send more troops to Iraq but make sure they are helping to secure Iraq so that all Iraqis can see the benefits of the greatest democracy in the world at work and perhaps gets some notions of their own and follow in tow. That is what we want in Iraq after all isn’t it?


Tanksis said...

Ooorah, Sgt. (I'm glad you didn't seize the opportunity to roast the Jarheads on the radio, by the way;-)

I have to agree wholeheartedly with you and hope that this "surge" is handled in the manner such as you describe. I know the ROE have been a huge source of irritation to the troops (as well they should be) as there has been too much handling of this war with kid gloves, and too much influence over the life or death, split-second decisions every soldier or Marine on the ground has to make.

All the more reason you and Buck should be in charge.

Semper Fi

Winston said...

Why do they have to increase the troops while the main sources of threats i.e Iran & Syria are not yet dealt with? I mean it is ridiculous to put additional troops in harms way when the major threats from Iran and Syria are not taken seriously...

Help overthrow the Iranian regime and that will not be necessary to send more US troops to Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Down with the ROE... and move media around so they can see and report to the American public the good things that are happening... I know IEDs and Deaths sell papers.. but.. I am tired of hearing the assertions of people here, that are educated via CNN...

~SSG George~

Anonymous said...

could you disable this "Word Verification" thing?

Bogdan said...

I agree entirely with Winston. Iraq was only the first step in the right direction, but the struggle that is awaiting us will be much longer and bloodier. As tragic as it sounds the Islamofascism, and other derivatives of totalitarian collectivism must be crushed as thoroughly and totally as Nazis and Japs were in the WW2, so they will lose their zeal to fight, otherwise they will become powerful and threatening to the US.
Unfortunetely the future doesn't look bright, but there is no choice thatn to fight and win. There no other option...

Anonymous said...

What we need is a Sherman! Some cultures only undrestand and respect strenght. Show the Iranians ans Syrians what we can do... they'll think twice about a few things they have planned.But with the dems in charge, I doubt we'll do much of anything of lasting value.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately few people get the big picture, bogdan...or don't want to face up to it. One female liberal on tv yesterday was complaining that we won WWII in less time than we've been in Iraq. I had to laugh...does she realize how we brought that war to a quick conclusion? Two big ones stragically placed. But would she support that? No way. But I would, and you can probably guess where I would stragically place them. We are in a world war, acknowledged or not. me a war monger if you want..who cares anymore what the liberals call you.

T. F. Boggs said...

To me more troops make sense because we want to win the present war in Iraq. I wasn't thinking along the lines of what is to come only of what we are currently doing.

Winston I understand what you are talking about and to some extent I agree. We do need to help the Iranians overthrow their government but until we do so we should have some extra help in Iraq.

I am not a believer in the idea that if we only relax the ROE everything would fall in line in Iraq but I do think it would be a step in the right direction. Relaxing the ROE would help when you find the bad guys, or even just help in finding them, but it doesn't help immediately with the overall picture. Relaxed ROE AND more troops would do the job in my mind as I have already stated. From there if we wanted to start on Iran or if we wanted to do both in conjunction with each other that would be fine by me. We just have to start somewhere and if I am being realistic about what the American people will allow the government to do (I say that kind of tongue in cheek) or at least what the democratic controlled Senate will allow, then I think we will see a troop increase in Iraq before anything happens with Iran.

Anonymous said...

I like your reasoning on this Sergeant Boggs. I also agree with Winston and Bogdan, but first things first. Certainly I hope that when Petraeus takes over Bush has given him the green light to lean on Maliki and get rid of the Mahdi army. You might be interested in what Captain Badger6 has to say. He's currently blowing up IED's in Ramadi and Fallujah with Teflon Don of 'Acute Politics'

He seems to have given some thought from "all things military and natural security related".

You can read him here:

You rocked on Hugh Hewitt by the way.

Anonymous said...

Well, the New Hampshire Union Leader said it a whole lot better than I can! Hope I'm not violating any blogger policy, but I loved this comment. It fits right in with much of what Tim said!

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made an astonishing assertion on CBS's "Face The Nation" on Sunday. Sending more U.S. forces to Iraq was wholly unrelated to supporting the troops already there, she claimed.

"If the President chooses to escalate the war, in his budget request, we want to see a distinction between what is there to support the troops who are there now," Pelosi said.

"The American people and the Congress support those troops. We will not abandon them. But if the President wants to add to this mission, he is going to have to justify it. . . .

"We will always support the troops who are there. If the President wants to expand the mission that's a conversation he has to have with the Congress of the United States."

Sending an additional 30,000 or so troops to Baghdad might or might not be a sensible policy. (For more discussion, see the opposite page.) We will have to see exactly how many troops President Bush wants to send and how he intends to use them. At this point the details are sketchy. But to suggest that sending more forces is in no way related to supporting the ones already there is to talk complete nonsense.

If U.S. forces in Baghdad are vulnerable because there are too few of them, if they lack the manpower to complete their mission, then sending more troops is not, as Pelosi suggests, creating a new and separate mission. It is, by definition, supporting the troops who are there by giving them the help they need to do their jobs.

In August of 1942 the United States had only half a million troops stationed overseas, according to the Army's official history of the war. The next year the Army sent nearly 1.5 million men to fight abroad. If the politicians of then thought like Pelosi does today, they would have approved of rearming the 500,000 troops fighting the Germans, Italians and Japanese, but not sending the additional forces necessary to win the war. Refusing to increase troop strength where needed is the very definition of abandoning troops who are already in the fight.

At this point, Pelosi's rhetoric does not amount to abandoning the troops currently fighting terrorists in Iraq. But it has created a conventient way for Democrats to abandon Iraq and our mission there if they perceive that doing so is politically expedient for them.

Americans should not be fooled by Pelosi's semantics. Sending more troops might very well prove vital to supporting those who are already there. Or it might not. Pelosi is correct that the President needs to explain how a troop surge will lead to victory. But to claim that increasing troop strength in Iraq is inherently unrelated to supporting the troops already fighting there is to set an arbitrary cap on our fighting strength that is unrelated to mission objectives. In other words, Pelosi is playing politics with war policy, and that is a very dangerous game to be playing."

My personal plea to Washington is not to play politics with war policy!

Tim, you just get better and better. Please don't be silent--you have so much to say--and unlike many of us, you (and Buck!) have a credibility we don't. You've been there and lived it. We look forward to much more from you!


Lou said...

There are some good links over at Exileinportales on Americans wanting to win the war not pull out. There is also an interesting little bit about politically correct college courses - I thought you would like that, Tim.

Bogdan said...

Seargant t.f.boggs: such a fantastic, bright, young men like yourself are our light of hope in this dark atmosphere of defeatism, surrender and increasing isolationism. Folks like you will emerge in a few years as America's new leaders; curageous visionaries that won't let this country fall into moral abyss generated by cowardice as it happened during Carter's years. We all have to remember that America has always been strongest when she faced the most difficult moments in her existence, like for example during the WW2. It was after the US gave up on Vietnam, that she began sliding into moral, economical and ultimately military morass. The source of this ridiculous defeatism represented by Democrats is an infantile belief that you can somehow make friend of a criminal by appeasing him. As the entire history shows, it never worked. The strategic reality is, and always will be, that one life sacrificed abroad, saves at least ten lives at home. Today that truth is even more apparent that ever. The false peacemongers simly believe that by shoving your head into the sand while exposing your arse, one can avert the threat. This is not George Bush with his, alleged, mistakes made in the course the Iraq intervention, but America's false friends, Japs, South Korean's, Canadians, and abowe all the cowardly nad treacherous Europs that contribute to this conflicts being prolonged. The have moral obligation to help, at least to repay, partially, the debt of gratitude towards the US for protecting them during the entire period of Cold War, but they are to selfisch, and narrow minded, and to cowardly to give you even a necessary political support. Still, the islolationism can never be the answer, because in the end it will endanger America even more. The 7/11 was the best proof af that. All the best to you t.f.boggs!

gypsy said...

I truly hope our President sets out his strategy and mentions again and again that this is about our security, and that of our fighting Men and Women. My biggest hope is the left will stop the politics when it comes to this war and terrorism. Having to question yourself re ROE in a warzone is insanity.

Great entry t.f.

David M said...

Sgt Boggs, I was wondering if you could contact me via my email, I would like to quote you in a column I am writing about winning in Iraq from the NCOs point of view.

Thank you

David M
Editor: The Thunder Run
Developer: The NCO Board (Coming Soon!)

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