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The Surge: No Excuse for Bush or Congress

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The U.S. troop surge in Iraq has caused many to prematurely tout progress. The ideology driving their optimism is the decline in deadly violence in recent months.

For example, approximately 718 Iraqi civilians have been killed in November as opposed to 2,155 killed in May. In comparison, the U.S. military reported that 37 troops were killed in November, while 120 troops were killed in May.

So sure, the number of deaths are down with 165,000 U.S. troops on the ground providing security. But is that reason for hope and optimism? Of course not. It is almost 1,000 lives lost for a war that should have never been forced upon us or the Iraqis to begin with.

The pro-war element in America is pointing to the surge as reason to continuously occupy Iraq. However, they are forgetting that the surge is only a "temporary" military strategy. And as presidential candidate Joe Biden puts it -- the surge is a "fantasy."

Lets get it straight.

The surge may very well have reduced violence, however, it is not realistic to believe that we will be able to sustain it. We do not have an adequate number of troops in our military to provide the manpower needed to continue the surge strategy. Not to be the master of the obvious, but we have an all-volunteer military & the sacrifice is unshared. The flag waving, chest beating, and millions of yellow car magnets will never balance out the low recruiting levels.

I have never been an advocate for a military draft. The reason being is that I feel I can't have it both ways -- trying to end to the war and wanting to draft people to go and fight it is not a compatible combination. That would be too Bush/Cheney-like in my opinion - being that they are war-mongers & draft-dodgers simultaneously. (Wait a minute I forgot, Bush took a timeout in the Air National Guard.)

Having said that I very much encourage all those of military age who support and advocate for the war in Iraq to pick up a rifle and go fight it. ( I have a close friend who has an interesting website relating to the unshared sacrifice of the American people. It is worth looking at whether or not you agree with him on the issue.)

Getting back to the point ...

The surge will not unite the Iraqi people and bring peace and stability to Iraq. It will only temporarily keep the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds in their designated parts of the country divided by sectarian lines. Once we draw down the number of US troops as General Petraeus said we will start doing this July, it is a certainty that we will see a substantial increase in the level of violence. We will be right back at square one -- right where we started with the "Rumsfeld Doctrine" of fewer troops desperately trying to contain a multi-front civil war in Iraq. (Petraeus also says it will take 9 or 10 years to implement a proper counter-insurgency strategy.)

Moving on to Bush and Congress.

Bush has list of demands for Congress to take up as their first order of business when they return this week from Thanksgiving recess. He wants his money with no strings attached so he can continue to operate the war in Iraq with complete and total ineptitude.

If I were a member of Congress I would tell Bush to go pound sand. This man can't be trusted with any more money without strict oversight and micromanagement from Congress

Democrats have vowed not to give Bush any more money this year. It sounds good in theory, but the year is over in one month.

My advice to Congress would be to switch the non-binding "goal" of withdrawing troops to concrete binding legislation mandating Bush to comply with the wishes of the American people - that being an end to the war. If Congress really wants to hold this administration accountable they should do it once and for all - with no strings attached.

If Bush vetoes any more bills from Congress they should just shove it right back in his face. If he won't compromise -- why should they? Last May I boldly stated that when dealing with Bush you have to be equally as stubborn & fight fire with fire. ( Actually Donald Trump said it the best.)

Congress has the ball in their court. We as Americans have an obligation to ensure that the people we elect to bring about positive change fulfill that exact mandate. Contact your member of Congress and urge them to stand strong and united against Bush's senseless war. His Iraq policy is totally flawed and has gone unchecked for entirely too long. Lives are in the balance and we have no time to waste.


John Bruhns
Iraq Veteran