Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Opinion: What would you do in Iraq if you were President of the United States?

14 comments:

Megan B said...

If I were President, I would have many options on what the correct path for Iraq strategy should be. If I had to make this difficult decision I would make the call to…keep troop levels at the present number, but I would rotate the position in Iraq of the combat brigades every few months. This way the strategy being taken in each high combat area would receive different strategies at different times, and “new” fresh troops to carry out the strategy to its fullest. The rotation would include a variation of easy and difficult assignments, such as spending two months in a somewhat stable area like the northern Kurdish areas, then moving to an unstable more difficult area like Anbar providence. The rotation would also include training of Iraqi troops, and then a brake into the divisions to be imbedded with an Iraqi brigades, thus U.S. troops would be easily able to evaluate the ability and effectiveness of the Iraqi forces. The training portion of the rotation would also show the Iraqis that the U.S. is committed to helping them take control of their own nation. The rotation method would also allow new strategies to be used constantly, because there would be new commanders, with new ideas and tactic coming in every few months. This may help to effectively fight the insurgents, who also are constantly changing their strategy. In my eyes this would be not only a smart strategy militarily, but also politically. This plan has elements, or some type of compromise, of many of the other major plans, set forth by the ’08 candidates, by that I mean the majority of the members of Congress. The rotation plan keeps troop levels the same, a compromise between a surge and a withdrawal. The plan also mixes in the element of re-deployment. Overall I think the best selling point of this plan, is that it shows the U.S. wants to increase the presences and ability of the Iraqi troops to secure their own nation.

trevorhguy said...

The “courses” that the president has been leading us down are all dead ends. We should have never rushed into Iraq guns ablaze like we did but hey, what’s done is done. So, if I were president, I would attempt to rectify the quickly deteriorating situation as soon as possible. First I would set a clear timetable. By the end of 2007 I would want control of the entire country transferred to the Iraqis with limited U.S. assistance. I would not even dream about mustering another 20,000 troops from our already depleted military force. I would do quite the opposite, I would try to have half of the troops home by year’s end with the remaining troops out of foot patrols and on a more super visional station. I would demand from my military directors that all troops be out of Iraq by January 1st 2009. I would also ensure that there are no more extended tours and re-deployments. In other words I would use logic, not body bags, to solve the problem.

Dain said...
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Dain said...
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Dain said...

If I were the President, I would adopt a different strategy than the current one. I wouldn't have invaded Iraq in the first place, but that is irrelevant now.

The first change I would make would be to set a timetable (or series of deadlines, pick your language) from which to withdraw US troops. Deadlines have an amazing psycological impact - if homework didn't have deadlines, how many students would muster the will to get it done? If we set a timetable, we give the Iraqis concrete goals to meet by concrete dates and give them a motivation to reach them.

Second, I would break up the militias. Diplomatically if possible, forcefully if neccessary. If the Iraqi government is to be successful, it cannot at this stage have other competeing militient groups that control large portions of the population. The death squads and militias only divide the country when it needs to be whole. Breaking up the militias and death squads can also act as a show of strength that will lend credibility to the new government, simmilar to how the crushing of the Whiskey Rebellion gave the US Government credibility when it was launched.

Third, I would go along with the surge idea and increase the troop levels. Yes, increase. If we are going to do this, we are going to do it with the troops to make sure it gets done. I know it will strain our military recources, but the timetable above will 1) mean we will be withdrawing our troops slowly, so a "surge" will only be temporary and 2) provide a psycological finish line. When people see a definite end, they endure much more than if they have no idea how long things will continue.

Fourth, I would begin talks with Iran and Syria. Like it or not, they have a legitmate interest in seeing their border countries become stable. By talking with them, we also gain a measure of control over how they choose to act. More shadowy, Iran and Syria will be less inclined to begin large operations for manipulating Iraq while they are in diplomatic talks, so Iraq gains a measure of respite.

Saturday, January 20, 2007 2:38:14 PM

BrandonSh said...

I agree with Trevor for the mostpart. As President, I would slowly decrease the number of troops in Iraq. 2009 sounds like a good chunk of time for the U.S. to finish its buisness and get its soldiers home. If so many more troops are needed in Baghdad, I don't see why not to take extra, unneccesary, forces from stable areas and move them there to secure it. 20,000 more lives are completely out of the question. As soon as Baghdad was secure and under control I would turn power over to the Iraqi government and like Trevor said, only supervise what goes on until the country is running smoothly.

RaStauss said...

well, if i were president,i wouldn't have invaded iraq. obviously whats done is done. If i came in as president right now, i would pull the troops out of iraq slowly, but have almost all of them out by mid 2008. The troops that would stay there until about 2009 would be training the iraqi military. I would definetly not put more american's lives in danger by increasing the number of troops in iraq. The troops should all be out by mid 2009 and iraq would have as little us support as possible.

BrandonK said...

First things first, I do not believe that the President is going in the right direction in this war. Adding another 20,000 troops is absolutely inconceivable(although inevitable).If troop numbers arent going to be reduced, I would keep them steady rather than increasing them. I am going to agree with Dain and Trevor and say that if I were President I would set a timetable for getting our troops out of the Iraq. By slowly removing troops, I think we can force the Iraqi government to take more responsibility in their own country.
I also would talk with Iran and Syria (as the Baker-Hamilton Group suggested). Rather than using threatening language and actions, it is better to talk with hostile nations than to antagonize them. If we can agree on a way to secure the borders of Iraq, that would also help the Iraqi army govern themselves.

KerryW said...

If I were president, I would, like most others on this blog, slowly withdraw troops from Iraq while sticking to a timeline. This would allow the Iraqi government to start running their country without our help. We would be their for them in the beginning if they needed help but by the time we are out of their, we can be assured that Iraq can stand on its own two feet.

Megan B said...

Since the President has made up his mind to send more troops to Iraq, I think the interesting issue now will be to see how the President will address the Iraq strategy in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. Therefore, I feel the more debatable question to respond to would be: "If you were President, how would you include, or for that matter purposely exclude, the recently decided upon Iraq strategy in your State of the Union address?"

I personally would include the plans for Iraq in a SMALL portion of the address, since a majority of public opinion would not be in my favor, and it is only a portion of our national policies.

I would try to rally support for my plan by mentioning that as a young nation our country had to overcome some of the same struggles that Iraq currently has, such as rebellions. Like Dain said, the crushing of the Whiskey and Shay’s rebellions gave the U.S. a much needed boost in confidence, if the Iraqis can, with some help, crush the death squads and militias, this would draw a compelling parallel between the U.S. and Iraq, that many people may be able to connect to. I would also point out that there was a span of slightly more than 11 years between when the Declaration of Independence was signed and when the Constitution was ratified, and Iraq has only been a free state with free elections since 2004, three years. Another parallel I would draw to the U.S. in its early years would be the concern of listening to the majority, while still protecting the rights of the minority, which Iraq still has to overcome, just as the United States did.

I would keep the section on Iraq small and focus on issues here in the United States that the new Congress is trying to address. Complementing the policies of the 100 hour plan that I agree need to be enacted, would allow a bridge to be built to connect with the new Congress and to help re-connect with the U.S. citizens.

brandong said...

I would definately not pull out now. I've been hearing in interviews that have been conducted with US troops in Iraq that the Iraqi troops only pull their weight when our troops are around, but if left alone they just sit around and do nothing. I say we need to stay there long enough to make them "stable." If they are just going to stop once we leave then what will have been the point in going there in the first place.

KimK said...

If I were President, I would just do whatever it takes to finish as successfully as possible in Iraq so that the whole thing does not end up to be a waste of time, money, and troops. I would increase the number of troops in Iraq for now until they are not needed anymore. As the need for U.S. troops decreases, I would start pulling troops out until very few are left. I agree with most others that a timetable is a good idea so long as it does not limit the success in Iraq. It would be nice if we could get out of Iraq as soon as possible, but we should not get out until they have a stable government by themselves.

TyKant said...

If I was the Presidnt, I would want the troops to come out of Iraq. They have been there for long enough, the things that the U.S. needed from the sending of the troops to Iraq has been taken care of. It's time that they come home.

JakobL said...

If I would be president I would recommand all troops over one year out of the Iraq and give them money back, because of damages the U.S. troops have caused. I would also favor elections controlled by Iraq peoople and citizens. This troops in the Iraq are costing the government millions of dollars only because of pressure from big oil companies. The Iraqi people have a right of freedom as the people in the USA and shouldn't be controlled by another government.