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During his recent trip to Iraq, Robert Gates met with a group of soldiers all of whom strongly favored a force increase in Baghdad. Skeptics like me had the funny feeling that this group of soldiers may have been hand-picked by an advance team to show the troop's support for a "surge". Whether this is the case or not, the views expressed by the soldiers at that intimate Friday breakfast are not representative of the majority of the troops on the ground.  

A story of the AP wire reads, "Many Soldiers Say Troop Surge a Bad Idea". Here's some of the highlights:

Many of the American soldiers trying to quell sectarian killings in Baghdad don't appear to be looking for reinforcements. They say the temporary surge in troop levels some people are calling for is a bad idea.

SNIP

In dozens of interviews with soldiers of the Army's 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment as they patrolled the streets of eastern Baghdad, many said the Iraqi capital is embroiled in civil warfare between majority Shiite Muslims and Sunni Arabs that no number of American troops can stop.

Others insisted current troop levels are sufficient and said any increase in U.S. presence should focus on training Iraqi forces, not combat.

But their more troubling worry was that dispatching a new wave of soldiers would result in more U.S. casualties, and some questioned whether an increasingly muddled American mission in Baghdad is worth putting more lives on the line.

While some of the troops supported the idea of a surge, most painted a very bleak picture of what's happening in Baghdad right now.

Spc. Don Roberts, who was stationed in Baghdad in 2004, said the situation had gotten worse because of increasing violence between Shiites and Sunnis.

"I don't know what could help at this point," said Roberts, 22, of Paonia, Colo. "What would more guys do? We can't pick sides. It's almost like we have to watch them kill each other, then ask questions."

Based in Fort Lewis, Wash., the battalion is part of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division. Deployed in June, its men were moved to Baghdad from Mosul in late November to relieve another Stryker battalion that had reached the end of its tour.

"Nothing's going to help. It's a religious war, and we're caught in the middle of it," said Sgt. Josh Keim, a native of Canton, Ohio, who is on his second tour in Iraq. "It's hard to be somewhere where there's no mission and we just drive around."

Sgt. Justin Thompson, a San Antonio native, said he signed up for delayed enlistment before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, then was forced to go to a war he didn't agree with.

A troop surge is "not going to stop the hatred between Shia and Sunni," said Thompson, who is especially bitter because his 4-year contract was involuntarily extended in June. "This is a civil war, and we're just making things worse. We're losing. I'm not afraid to say it."

The gist of this article is that many of our troops are much closer to John Murtha on Iraq than they are to George Bush. Many would rather have the US pull out rather than escalate the conflict. The "ground truth" is that many of our troops believe the mission is futile; that we are doing more harm than good at this point.

If it is indeed the case that the Gates pow-wow with the troops was a set up then Bush's listening sessions and consultations have been a charade. The photo op would then be an early roll out of the surge strategy. The meeting would have been staged as a way to implant the idea that our troops are calling for more support in the mind of the public. My feeling is that the surge is not widely supported in the military establishment. It's becoming clearer and clearer that the idea is coming from the top. It’s obviously cover for those who have invested so much political capital in this war. The democrats must speak out against this escalation. We need to leave Iraq. Iraq is lost. We don't need to sacrifice more American lives so that our leaders can try one more face saving Hail Mary pass.

Originally posted to Mahler3 on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 02:22 PM PST.

Poll

Was the Gates meeting with the troops in Baghdad staged in order to begin the PR offensive aimed at garnering public support for a "surge"?

94%92 votes
0%0 votes
5%5 votes

| 97 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  A "surge" means more extended tours (9+ / 0-)

    These soldiers aren't idiots, even if their bosses are.  They know that there's no big surplus of troops ready to send in their place.

  •  Tx for saving me the time of posting this (6+ / 0-)

    I saw it too and howled. Of course the troops want to come up. Who wants to die for failed leadership?

    •  How Many Of Our Brave Men and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irate, DWG

      women are going to die for George W Bush's legacy?

      "Just imagine a work of such magnitude that it actually mirrors the whole world....In it all of nature finds a voice." Gustav Mahler on his 3rd Symphony

      by Mahler3 on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 02:37:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I should say (0+ / 0-)

        to protect George W Bush's legacy.

        "Just imagine a work of such magnitude that it actually mirrors the whole world....In it all of nature finds a voice." Gustav Mahler on his 3rd Symphony

        by Mahler3 on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 02:38:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bush's legacy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mahler3

          needs no more troops to protect. He is already going down in history as the worst American President. His corporate crony sole-source providers are getting record profits.

          Presumably, Bush's recent purchase of a 100K acre ranch in Paraguay is so he won't be embarrassed by large numbers of Americans stopping him in the street to express their gratitude for the way he's run the country.

          OK, it's more likely he figures that he's already paid off enough Paraguay government officials to make extradition impossible.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 03:12:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  And die for a chimp! n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irate, Mahler3, DWG, txlosthorn

    The essence of Liberalism is an attempt to secure a social order not based on irrational dogma. Bertrand Russell

    by Asinus Asinum Fricat on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 02:29:08 PM PST

  •  The troops in the field... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mahler3, txlosthorn

    ...have always had something that our civilian leadership lacks:

    Intelligence.

    We will appoint as...officials, only men that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well. -- Magna Carta, #46 (-6.25, -7.18)

    by DH from MD on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 02:40:59 PM PST

  •  Why do they hate the troops? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mahler3, Hard to Port, Temmoku, txlosthorn

    It's a shame that the troops hate the troops!  If they supported the troops, the troops would support the Presnit's plan!  [sound of brain melting...]

    •  They don't (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassidy3, tobendaro, Pager, nathguy, txlosthorn

      hate the troops. They love the troops. The troops want victory just like them. They would rather patrol Baghdad getting shot at and blown up than be with their families over the holidays. BTW. Here are the names of the soldiers who gave their lives the last two weeks.

       US Lance Corporal William C. Koprince Jr. Al Anbar Province Hostile - hostile fire
       US Specialist Douglas L. Tinsley Baghdad (South of) - Babil Non-hostile - vehicle rollover
      26-Dec-2006 6 | US: 6 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Specialist Joseph A. Strong Baghdad (South of) - Babil Non-hostile - vehicle rollover
       US Corporal Joshua M. Schmitz Al Anbar Province Hostile - hostile fire
       US Sergeant John T. Bubeck Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
      25-Dec-2006 6 | US: 6 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Captain Hayes Clayton Balad - Salah ad Din Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Sergeant 1st Class Dexter E. Wheelous Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Sergeant Jae S. Moon Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Private Eric R. Wilkus Landstuhl Reg. Med. Ctr. - Baghdad Non-hostile
       US Specialist Aaron L. Preston Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Private 1st Class Andrew H. Nelson Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Sergeant Jason C. Denfrund Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
      24-Dec-2006 2 | US: 2 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Private Evan A. Bixler Hit - Anbar Hostile - hostile fire - indirect fire
       US Lance Corporal Stephen L. Morris Al Andbar Province - Anbar Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
      23-Dec-2006 7 | US: 7 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Specialist Michael J. Crutchfield Balad (Camp Anaconda) - Salah ad Din Non-hostile
       US Specialist John Barta Buhritz - Diyala Hostile - hostile fire - indirect fire
       US Specialist Chad J. Vollmer Salman Pak - Babil Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Private 1st Class Wilson A. Algrim Salman Pak - Babil Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Private Bobby Mejia II Salman Pak - Babil Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Sergeant Curtis L. Norris Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Specialist Elias Elias Baghdad (southwest of) Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
      22-Dec-2006 1 | US: 1 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Specialist Joshua D. Sheppard Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - small arms fire
      21-Dec-2006 4 | US: 4 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Lance Corporal Fernando S. Tamayo Al Anbar Province Hostile - hostile fire
       US Lance Corporal Ryan J. Burgess Al Anbar Province Hostile - hostile fire
       US Lance Corporal Ryan L. Mayhan Al Anbar Province Hostile - hostile fire
       US Hospitalman Kyle A. Nolen Al Anbar Province Hostile - hostile fire
      20-Dec-2006 4 | US: 4 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Lance Corporal Myles Cody Sebastien Al Anbar Province Hostile - hostile fire
       US Specialist Scott D. Dykman Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Staff Sergeant Jacob G. McMillan Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - small arms fire, IED
       US Specialist Robert J. Volker Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
      19-Dec-2006 3 | US: 3 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
      US Specialist Andrew P. Daul Hit - Anbar Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Corporal Joshua D. Pickard Al Anbar Province Hostile - hostile fire
      18-Dec-2006 2 | US: 2 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Captain Kevin M. Kryst Al Anbar Province Hostile - hostile fire - mortar attack
       US Staff Sergeant Brian L. Mintzlaff Taji - Baghdad Non-hostile - vehicle rollover
      17-Dec-2006 1 | US: 1 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Private 1st Class Seth M. Stanton Taji (Died in Balad) - Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
      16-Dec-2006 4 | US: 4 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Lance Corporal Nick J. Palmer Fallujah - Anbar Hostile - hostile fire - sniper fire
       US Private 1st Class Joe L. Baines Taji - Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Staff Sergeant David R. Staats Taji - Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Specialist Matthew J. Stanley Taji - Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
      15-Dec-2006 2 | US: 2 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Staff Sergeant Henry K. Kahalewai Brooke Army Med Center, TX - Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
       US Private 1st Class Paul Balint Jr. Ramadi - Anbar Hostile - hostile fire - small arms fire
      14-Dec-2006 3 | US: 3 | UK: 0 | Other: 0    
       US Staff Sergeant Theodore A. Spatol Thermopolis Non-hostile - illness
       US Lance Corporal Luke C. Yepsen Fallujah - Anbar Hostile - hostile fire - small arms fire
       US Lance Corporal Matthew W. Clark

      "Just imagine a work of such magnitude that it actually mirrors the whole world....In it all of nature finds a voice." Gustav Mahler on his 3rd Symphony

      by Mahler3 on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 02:55:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Need another Poll option: 'DUH!' n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    guyermo, yinn, txlosthorn

    Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

    by sxwarren on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 02:48:39 PM PST

  •  Escalation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mahler3, cassidy3

    This article regarding no need for more troops is what should be plastered all over the Newspapers and talked to death by the MSM blowhards, until they are blue in the face.  By doing so they will take the winds out of Dumbya's sails.  He has already got the generals to change their tunes and support this failed occupation.  I knew as soon as I saw the report that troops wanted more troops was a manipulation of the public perceptions.

    I posted this on Dec 23.

    Having Served
    When I was a younger soldier, I was always intimidated/suspicious of those with rank (NCO & above).  You wouldn't ever catch me talking to them unless it was short and sweet.  So in order to keep it short and sweet, I would tell them what they wanted to hear in order to move on about my business.
    When I was in Bosnia, I was attached to an infantry battalion.  I was part of a maintainence support team, however it seemed to me that we were the ones pulling the majority of the guard duties for the camp.  Maybe this was not truly the case, but as a younger soldier it was my perception.  So in addition to performing extra duties we also had our maintainence duties as well.  Taxing on the body, especially the lack of sleep.

    So to my point if someone of rank were to ask me if we needed more troops, my answer would be a definate "Hell yeah!!".

    Was this staged?  
    I think we all know the answer to that question.  Why can't the press spot this nonsense?  When it stinks so badly?

    "Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see the world is moving." Elizabeth Cady Stanton

    by txlosthorn on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 02:56:29 PM PST

  •  'Many say' one thing, 'many say' something else (0+ / 0-)
    Where does it say anything about 'most'?

    None Dare Call It Stupid!

    by RonK Seattle on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 03:17:12 PM PST

    •  It doesn't (0+ / 0-)

      it's my reading of the article. So I used many instead of most. The basic idea is that surge is not widely supported by the troops.

      "Just imagine a work of such magnitude that it actually mirrors the whole world....In it all of nature finds a voice." Gustav Mahler on his 3rd Symphony

      by Mahler3 on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 03:28:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your title says 'Most' ... but here's fresh data! (0+ / 0-)
        http://www.tpmcafe.com/...

        And the answer is ... muddled.

        As Greg figures it, 39% want the same or fewer troops, while 38% want more.

        As I figure it, 26% want less, 38% want more, and 36% want the same or express no opinion.

        Only 22% want an increase in the 146,000 to 200,000 range, which certainly includes any "surge" under current discussion, so the surge is clearly not favored.

        None Dare Call It Stupid!

        by RonK Seattle on Fri Dec 29, 2006 at 06:27:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Your poll is missing the option of "Duh." n/t (0+ / 0-)

    All my peeves are my pets.

    by yinn on Thu Dec 28, 2006 at 04:20:46 PM PST

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