Strong opinions, weakly held


There’s another word to describe the “surge” in US troops stationed in Iraq that President Bush seems likely to authorize. That word is “escalation.” I think it’s a much more accurate term. President Bush decides how many soldiers are sent to Iraq. Circumstances dictate when they get to come back.

The idea that this surge is temporary is contingent on the fact that the desired effect will be achieved. If we send 25,000 more troops to Iraq and Baghdad 2007 is more violent than Baghdad 2006, I don’t think that President Bush will go on TV and tell us that the surge strategy was a failure and that those troops are coming home. He’ll either tell us that the surge must be continued because it’s working more slowly than anticipated or that further escalation is dictated.

One proposal that’s getting lots of press recommends sending up to 50,000 more troops to Iraq for 18 to 24 months. Does that sound like a temporary surge to you? It sounds like escalation to me.

The US started this war under the pretense that it was going to be a quick liberation that would be over soon and cost us nothing, thanks to Iraqi oil revenues. Now, after almost four years of war, the same people are trying to sell a massive escalation of the conflict in the guise of a temporary surge to secure Baghdad. Don’t believe them.


  1. Actually I think that your post is one of the things that inspired this post (although I had forgotten where I had read it). The immediate inspiration was Harry Reid’s use of the word “escalation” today, which I thought was very smart.

  2. Hi Rafe,

    It’s a great term, if the Dems were in the White House the Republicans would be shouting it from the rooftops right now.

    It will be interesting to see whether the Dems make any serious effort to oppose escalation, and how effective they are if they do.

    Based on past history they will fall in line behind it in their eagerness to look tough. Which is why I didn’t find the results of the mid-terms all that exciting.

  3. Good post. It seems so obvious to me that this is Viet Nam redux. It’s a real quandry for those that actually care about Iraq. However going back to my original opinion on the war, you have to look at the intentions and the people behind things, not just the best case scenario. I knew from the start that those pushing the war had no interest in actually helping the Iraqis, and thus could not support the invasion even though getting rid of Saddam was a good thing.

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