Point/Counterpoint: Troop surge in Iraq

By Jessica Lewis

and Tyler Murphy

Sun Staff Writers

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sometimes, Evening Sun reporters just like to argue. In this feature, the sides of the argument were chosen arbitrarily; they do not necessarily represent the author's true viewpoints.

Although it is a highly controversial topic right now, increasing the troop level in Iraq is the right thing to do. For nearly four years, the United States has been fighting a war in Iraq, and if things go unchanged, the violence is going to continue for many years to come.

People do not want to see an increase in the number of troops to Iraq, but what real alternatives do we have? We have none. Perhaps our reasons for going to Iraq in the first place were flawed; we have found no weapons of mass destruction and there is no clear link between the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and the Iraqi regime, but that is a moot point. The issue now is the instability that has been created in the country. Now that our troops are fighting in Iraq, and we have removed Saddam Hussein from power, we have to continue the work that we started. Ė JLL

Wow Iím not sure where to start laughing. OK, weíll first off itís not a controversial topic or didnít you vote in the national election where Republicans were ousted out of our legislative branch of government? The presidentís approval rating is so low that to find support he has to lower his head. Support for the Iraq war is bouncing off the floor like a tennis ball. America wants out, not in. The controversy is generated by the notion of going against congressional, public and academic opinion (ever heard of a little thing called the Iraq study group, but Iíll get to that in a minute). Since when did sending in more troops ever stop violence? Give me one modern example. Here are some for you, Vietnam, no; Somalia, no; Israel and Lebanon, no; Iraq ... How are you going to deter these fanatics? Hey donít blow yourself up because weíll shoot you? Iím sure theyíll welcome the abundance of targets.

So what youíre saying is why fight a war, or rather why we started a war has nothing to do with the idea of continuing that war? Isnít that exactly what itís about? Fighting a war because you donít want to lose is not a military strategy, itís a political one. Ė TDM

Oh Iím sorry, I thought the definition of controversial was to give rise to public disagreement (and if youíve watched or read the news in the last week, you would see that there is definitely public disagreement on this topic), but according to you it has something to do with voting.

Listen, if you want to stick your head in the sand and ignore the facts all around you, that is your choice, but I refuse to do so. Countless generals and military minds Ė you know, those people with actual military experience and expertise Ė have admitted that pulling the troops out of Iraq at this juncture would increase the sectarian violence in Iraq.

Yes, there are fanatics who will go to extremes to try to defeat U.S. forces in Iraq. That may be the only rational point that you made. Clearly, if immediately pulling troops out of Iraq would increase the sectarian violence, which it would, then we need to send more troops to support those who are already there.

This nationís troops are the biggest asset that our country has, and since they are already involved in this war, they deserve all of the support that we can give them. That is why the reasons for starting this war are no longer important. What is important is making sure that our soldiers have everything they need to be successful in this endeavor. Ė JLL

No offense, but America shouldnít get overly concerned over whatís best for the troops because they are fighting for whatís best for America and its people. Our priority is to the future of our democracy and our nation; to betray this belief makes all their sacrifices vain.

Pulling out isnít the answer either and I never said that. I said sending more troops is not the answer. A slow withdrawal that nurses the Iraqis into responsibility should be employed. If they want a free and democratic country for themselves, they are going to have to accept the fact that some of them may have to die to earn it and isnít that fair to ask? Why should American troops be asked to continue to accept this responsibility? Voting is the ultimate opinion poll because, by power of choice, one controls the course of this country Ė and the vote in November was to reject current policy.

America can not afford to occupy a country indefinitely. At what point do you believe we should begin to leave, since my guiding light of decision, public, legislative and professional disapproval wasnít good enough for you to accept? The Iraq study group offered several options apart from sending more troops. Peace is achieved at the table and not at the barrel of a gun. We are not there to destroy a country, we are there to build one. The biggest asset this country has are its citizens, not its military. Ė TDM

At what point did our troops stop being American citizens? They are the truest American citizens, those who are willing to protect the liberties of this country at the risk of their own health and safety. We should look at what solution will benefit them, as well as the rest of our country, and the country we have destroyed over the last four years. If you canít understand that, then there is no sense arguing with you, because you clearly are too self absorbed to care about anyone except yourself.

Your proposed solution Ė donít immediately pull out of Iraq but donít send more troops either Ė is no solution at all. Your line of thinking seems to be, if something isnít working, letís keep doing the same thing and see if the results will change.

The biggest ordeal the troops are facing in Iraq is the inability to keep stable territories stable. They go in, secure an area and move on. Meanwhile, they are just pushing the insurgents from one area to another. By the time they return to the secured area, they find they have to start all over again.

No, the people of this country do not want to see more troops deployed to Iraq, but they donít like your brilliant solution of leaving things unchanged, either. The worst decision you can make, is making no decision at all.

Only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence, but they need our help to do so. We went in and made a bad situation worse, and now we need to help the Iraqi people pick up the pieces and put their country back together. Of course we should not stay in the country indefinitely, but we should at least make an effort to see this plan through. Ė JLL

Iím pretty sure that a phased withdrawal is an original plan and not the status quo. Just because you join the military doesnít make you better than anyone else. Itís appreciated, but Iím fairly certain plenty of non-combatants have helped contribute to this country plenty. The Iraqi Prime Minister told U.S. commanders he doesnít even want the troop surge, he wants more independence.

When are you going to learn that you canít defeat an insurgency with conventional military tactics? The guerillas arenít moving from area to area, they are hidden among a sympathetic population that will undoubtedly become more sympathetic to their cause once troops begin banging in doors and fighting in their neighborhoods. They are regular people pushed to the edge in an environment that makes death seem more appealing (that is literal). You are fighting an idea, not an army and the harder you squeeze a population, the more it will slip through your fingers. In order to find one enemy youíre going to have to persecute an entire community; and even if you find them, you just created more. Weíre in their homes and in their hearts and we havenít the right. One of the most destablizing elements in Iraq is the continued presence of the American military. Ė TDM

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