I had been awaiting the President's speech all week. In fact, when it was announced that a new strategy in Iraq was going to be detailed after the first of the year, I was very excited. I was hoping, deep down, that the administration had finally cracked and was going to call for a slow withdrawal from Iraq. I was thinking that it would make sense to pull a few troops out each month while gradually releasing parts of the country back to the new Iraqi government. I figured that this would take a good long time, perhaps a year or so. And I also knew, deep down, that more troops would die even with the withdrawal.
However, all these hopes were dashed as report after report rumored that the announcement would be about increasing troop levels in Iraq and not bringing any home. But I soon remembered the sort of people that are making these decisions and realized that I should have never had this hope in the first place. It was a fool's hope that any sort of real change would be taking place. The President's speech last night proves that this man cares nothing for American opinion or common sense. As I listened to the monotone drivel coming from his mouth, I was reminded why I dislike this man so much. His basic plan is not to change anything and just add more troops. The speech itself can be broken down into four parts. Each with more flaws than a $50 diamond.
At present, it is estimated that around 140,000 troops are deployed to Iraq. In this new strategy, the majority of these troops would be reassigned to Baghdad were a violent civil war is raging and people are dropping like flies. Along with these troops, another 20,000 or so are being called back to Iraq in the next few weeks. According to Bush, these troops will be "embedded with Iraqi units to help secure neighborhoods and protect civilians." If you ask me, these troops were just sent into a death trap. Baghdad is, no question, the most dangerous place in Iraq right now. Sending more troops to this area just gives the enemy more targets. Fighting urban warfare is horribly hard and something our troops are not use to. They will have to adjust quickly under this new plan in order to survive.
Aside from Baghdad, another trouble spot in Iraq is Anbar province. Many American troops have died in this area since the war began. According to Bush, Anbar is "al Qaeda's "home base" in Iraq." So to combat "al Qaeda," Bush is sending an additionally 4,000 troops. Again, we see this president putting more troops in harms way with no real strategy. Just sending troops is not enough. You may also want to tell them what to do. And I wish he would stop using al Qaeda as an excuse for this war. We are beyond all that now. Al Qaeda is no longer just one man's terrorist group. Thanks to the US, it is a global idea of anti-US sentiment. And as we all should know, you can't kill an idea.
Diplomacy is something that this president has shown time and again to be completely useless at attempting. Why in the world did he even bring it up? By now, it should be perfectly clear that this administration has no idea how to work in diplomacy. It is hard work that they are not willing to do and so they do not. However, the President's "new" plan involves his "top" diplomats going to the region. Why? To ask for support? We are not going to get it from anyone but Israel and I think they are a little busy killing Palestinians. Every time you send Condoleezza Rice somewhere, nothing happens except wasted talk. Just stop with the act and admit that you know jack about diplomacy.
In the area of Iraqi politics, Bush's "new" plan calls for an election to "empower local leaders." Empower them to what? Get assassinated? Do you seriously think that the right people will be elected in the middle of a civil war? I hope not. This type of environment breeds corruption. The good leaders will all be too scared to run and the corrupt leaders will have full support from the terrified population. In this situation, we are simply setting ourselves up to come back to Iraq in 20 or 30 years (if we have left by then) and remove another "dictator."
Finally, the Bush plan mentions the economy. If our president can't even run the economy of our country, what makes anyone think he can fix the ruined economy of Iraq. Even so, the plan calls for "$10 billion to develop its infrastructure and create new jobs. " Also, the president has pledged "double the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams, which work with Iraqi companies to coordinate local reconstruction efforts." This part is all for nothing if you rebuild just to have it get blown up again by the civil war violence. The Bush White House needs to just come out and say they they want the oil of this country and stop hiding. If we would start purchasing oil from Iraq, maybe things would change. Probably not though.
In a nutshell, the "new way forward" in Iraq is one foot in the grave. We are willing to commit more troops to what has become an open-ended campaign to "free" this country from terror. President Bush believes that the fate of the Middle East lies with the outcome of this conflict. He may be partially right. But what he failed to mention is that the fate of the US lies more with Iraq than any other thing. If we cannot get out of this mess, our nation will crumble from the inside. We need an exit strategy. It is not a cowardly thing to have a survival plan. And that is exactly what an exit strategy would be. Without one from this President or Congress, the USA is toast.