`Bunker` mode for U.S. bases in Iraq
Second, even if the generals do stand their ground, can someone explain how this makes sense? We're not fixing things now even with 168,000 troops, and if we draw down we're supposedly going to unleash a massive civil war. So what are 50,000 troops in scattered outposts going to do while that's going on? Hunker down? Head out and get slaughtered? Evacuate? I just don't see how this makes any sense at all.
As Mr. Drum asks, what are 50,000 American troops scattered around Iraq at various Forward Operating Bases going to do?
So, as Mr. Drum asks, what would a reduced American force in Iraq actually do, especially with the Iraqi opinion that attacking American soldiers is acceptable:
Fifty-one percent said they thought it was "acceptable" for "other people" to attack coalition forces. In the 2004 survey, 17 percent said such attacks were acceptable.
This March, 2007, poll is telling in its wording; `other people`. It is telling because the average Iraqi isn't inclined to violence against United States forces; but the militia's are a different story. Unlike the American bases in places like Germany, Japan, and Korea, the reality in Iraq is that you travel in Iraq without armed escort at your own peril.
The August, 2007, poll shows a few slight shifts in who the Iraqi's blame for the violence, however, the prevailing attitude of "leave now" rose:
Some 47% of respondents now back an immediate withdrawal, compared with 35% in February.
However, the August poll has one staggering statistic in it:
One of starkest statistics from the poll is the overwhelming support for attacks on coalition forces among Iraq's minority Sunni population; 93% of those surveyed said they considered it acceptable.
In fact, 57% of all Iraqi's now believe it is acceptable for there to be attacks on coalition forces, whereas, in the above poll, it was 51%. Let's not forget that the 51% was up from 17%.
Mr. Drum answered his own question; yes, American troops would, in fact, hunker down behind the walls, the wire, and rarely, if ever, travel outside of the base.
Politicians, for the price of our government having their military bases in the Middle East, would condemn our troops stationed in Iraq to being little more than prisoners inside their own bases.
It cannot bear repeating enough; first it was 17%, then 51%, now 57% of Iraqi's that see attacking coalition forces as acceptable - and a full 93% of Sunni Arab's view attacking coalition forces as acceptable.
For the average American to imagine what our troops are going to be subjected to if we continue our presence in Iraq, I can only give you this comparison; lock yourself in a mall and do not leave for 12 - 15 months.
While I applaud the Democratic candidates for at least paying lip service to bringing our combat troops home, which of the "big 3" would remove our presence totally from Iraq?
Edwards believes we should completely withdraw all combat troops in Iraq within about a year and prohibit permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq. After withdrawal, we should retain sufficient forces in the region to contain the conflict and ensure that instability in Iraq does not spill over into other countries, creating a regional war, a terrorist haven, or a genocide.
The Democratic frontrunner has advocated "bringing the troops home," but she tells the newspaper she'd keep a reduced U.S. military force in Iraq to fight al Qaeda, discourage Iranian aggression, protect the Kurds and perhaps assist the Iraqi military.
The plan allows for a limited number of U.S. troops to remain as basic force protection, to engage in counter-terrorism, and to continue the training of Iraqi security forces. If the Iraqis are successful in meeting the thirteen benchmarks for progress laid out by the Bush Administration, this plan also allows for the temporary suspension of the redeployment, provided Congress agrees that the benchmarks have been met and that the suspension is in the national security interest of the United States.
As you can see, while touting how they would bring home our combat forces, Clinton and Obama would leave forces in Iraq at the "enduring" bases (ie, permanent). John Edwards would leave troops "in the region", which I assume, means in Kuwait.
So, yes, I am here to tell Mr. Drum that "hunkering down" in the bases is exactly what our troops are going to have to do in Iraq.
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