Tuesday, October 16, 2007
In case you haven't seen it yet, this WaPo op-ed by twelve former Army captains who served "in Baghdad and beyond" goes a little bit against the grain of the Petraeus party line:
Against this backdrop, the U.S. military has been trying in vain to hold the country together. Even with "the surge," we simply do not have enough soldiers and marines to meet the professed goals of clearing areas from insurgent control, holding them securely and building sustainable institutions. Though temporary reinforcing operations in places like Fallujah, An Najaf, Tal Afar, and now Baghdad may brief well on PowerPoint presentations, in practice they just push insurgents to another spot on the map and often strengthen the insurgents' cause by harassing locals to a point of swayed allegiances. Millions of Iraqis correctly recognize these actions for what they are and vote with their feet -- moving within Iraq or leaving the country entirely. Still, our colonels and generals keep holding on to flawed concepts.
America's choice, as they see it? Institute a military draft to draw up the troops needed to actually accomplish the mission, or get out now. Of course, instituting a draft would be political suicide, which is far less palatable (to politicians) than sending soldiers off to die in an ill-conceived war. But by bringing it to a vote, it would force those who argue the importance of continuing the Iraq War to put their money where their mouth is. Charlie Rangel tried this as a stunt a few years back, but the timing was a little early. It would pack a lot more punch now. Support the troops: they need some backup.