Monday, July 23, 2007

Rising Suport for the Iraq War?

In either a show of changing opinions or just how fickle the American public really is, the latest New York Times/CBS poll reported by the New York Times Online (available here) showed that last week "42 percent of Americans said taking military action in Iraq was the right thing to do, while 51 percent said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq. Support had been at all time low in May, when only 35 percent of Americans said the United States’ involvement in Iraq was the right thing and 61 percent said the United States should have stayed out."

Does this mean that the American public is actually being patient with the troop surge, as President Bush has requested? Does it mean that the troop surge is changing public opinion? Or could it be that summer just makes Americans more upbeat about everything? It is impossible to know for sure, but it seems to me that this troop surge may be at least in part responsible.

Mike Besselman, who served in the Navy, said something a few months ago about the Iraq War that I think is very true. He said that we cannot fight the Iraq War half-way. We either need to commit the forces needed or get our people out of harms way. I can't help but wonder if this troop surge was at least closer to committing the forces necessary to accomplish the mission in Iraq. The real question is what happens if the troop surge really is working? Even the most optimistic US commanders think it will take at least several more months for the surge to really be effective. Will the American public have that kind of patience? And, perhaps more importantly, will the Iraqi Government actually be able to get anything meaningful accomplished in that limited window of opportunity? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then I think President Bush should start drawing down troop numbers, focus on training the Iraqi army and fighting terrorism, and get our service men and women out from the middle of the Shite/Sunni conflict.

For more on one theory of how the US could safely reduce troop levels and keep Iraq from becoming totally unstable, check out this excellent article from Time Magazine.

1 comment:

  1. That is a good Time article.

    Since the Iraq study group I have been convinced there will be no military victory in Iraq.

    If I was king of the world, I would spend six months with diplomatic talks with all countries involved forming an exit strategy that will work best with all the players together. Then I would re-deploy many of the troops to other parts of the world to fight the real war on terror. I would leave behind many troops in Iraq to ensure terrorists do not take over.

    I watched the YouTube debate tonight and agree with Joe Biden and Hilary Clinton. The reality is it would take an entire year to redeploy troops in a safe way. But if we were smart, after six months of coming up with a diplomatic effort involving all countries in the area, we should begin.

    I really feel so bad for those in Iraq. We took them out of the frying pan and threw them directly in the fire. As long as we are there it will never get better yet if we left immediately it would be horrible..

    Again, I think Joe Biden has the clearest vision on how to leave Iraq properly and Clinton's views are very similar. At least they are responsible.

    As far as I can tell all serious Republican candidates favor business as usual which will not work


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