The Troop Surge (1/21/07)

Before the war began, General Eric K. Shinseki testified that the United States would need 300,000 troops to secure Iraq. Instead, we sent roughly 150,000 troops, and we’ve seen the results. It’s largely evident that we need a larger troop presence in order to prevent the sectarian violence that has erupted.

Let’s switch gears for a second. Let’s say that someone is hospitalized; they’re bleeding profusely with a deep gash in their chest. But instead of closing the wound and stitching it up, the doctors simply wrap it in gauze and hope it heals itself. This however, proves ineffective, as the patient continues to bleed through the gauze. The doctors simply replace the bloody gauze with clean gauze.

Bush’s plan to increase the troop presence in Iraq by 20,000 bodies is essentially just adding more gauze to a gaping wound. If we genuinely want to secure a stable Iraqi government, we need to commit a lot more troops. If we take General Shinseki’s word for it (which most of us do about now), we need a lot more troops than the current level. If we do send an additional 20,000 troops, equal to the troop level in fall of 2005 (150,000), we’d have half of his initial recommendation. What exactly would that accomplish?

The most logical thing that a doctor could do in the above case would be to either take the time and effort to stitch up the wound or sit back and let the patient bleed to death. There’s no point in further deluding ourselves into believing that we could heal a gaping wound with gauze; it’s simply a waste of gauze. In the same regard, adding a small number of troops is simply a waste of troops. We need to make a total commitment to securing Iraq or abandon all hope entirely. Doing more of the same is simply stupid.