Stretched to the Breaking Point

            Whether you
support or oppose the Bush administration's policy in Iraq, it is clear that the
open-ended, blank check, no timetable Bush policy cannot be sustained. The
pressures on our troops, equipment, and national budget are showing signs of
cracking. The war rhetoric is like the boy with his finger in the dike. He
believes that everything is under control. Sooner or later a real threat may
emerge that stretch our military to the breaking point. The real solution is eliminating
extremist hatred of the US
through diplomatic, peaceful action.

            President
Bush refuses to consider any timetables for withdrawal of troops from Iraq—he has
made that painfully clear during the past six years. However, the military will
eventually limit the Bush and next president’s ability to sustain current
levels in Iraq.
The administration war planners were wrong about the “weapons of mass
destruction” premise justifying invasion of Iraq
and they are wrong about a military solution in Iraq. According to a March 2004
“The Atlantic” magazine article by James Fallows,

Unanticipated U.S. ground force requirements in postwar Iraq,” a report for the Army
War College
noted late last year, “have stressed the U.S. Army to the breaking
point,” with more than a third of the Army's total “end
strength” committed in and around Iraq. “Operation Iraqi Freedom
and its aftermath argue strongly,” the report said, “for an
across-the-board reassessment”—that is, for an increase of U.S.
force levels.

The limitations of the military will ultimately set a
timetable that Bush refuses to consider. We find our country in an Iraq quagmire. A
finger in the dike and hawkish rhetoric will not change this. The sad truth is
that the Bush administration likely has enough fingers in the dike to keep it
standing until they leaves office. Then it becomes the next president’s
problem.

            The next real
problem that may be faced is a threat a nuclear Iran
attacking Israel.
So, how could the US
hope to respond? I see two options: 1) reinstate the draft—not a swift response
option—or 2) respond with nuclear weapons—swift but catastrophic.  Neither option solves the root problem—a
violent hatred of the US
by third world extremists.

            Diplomatic
and economic pressure along with expanding our world alliances has the
potential for increasing bang for the US taxpayer buck. Unbridled war
spending is drawing resources away form domestic needs such as social security
and bridge replacement, just to name two areas. There is a real possibility
that a disaster such as the Milwaukee
bridge collapse will be repeated and that social security will cease to be.

            Over committed
militarily throughout the world, the US will soon face hard decisions of
where and how to use limited military force. A strong military is necessary. So
is prudent use of this strength. President Bush has been anything but prudent
in his Iraq
blunder

Copyright © 2007 Mark Holmberg. All rights reserved.

What a quagmire

November 27, 2005

 
Readers on Iraq: What a quagmire

Many readers responded to my Security Mom column.

Mark Holmberg wrote:

“You are right, “we deserve information that can help us make informed decisions and be
more prepared to respond if something bad happens.” However, you missed the point when
you talked of fostering democracy in Iraq. Iraq was not the threat it is today before we
blundered in there based on bad information. Our leaders “should open up on” this subject
and they “should open up on” how we are going to get out of Iraq. I applaud members of
Congress who voted for war based on misinformation and now admit they were wrong. Our
leaders are human and make mistakes, whether they admit them or not. When mistakes are
discovered, real leaders acknowledge them and attempt to set them straight.

Because our leaders made grave errors about the existence of weapons of mass destruction
and Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to al-Qaida, Iraq is now absolutely a threat. Our presence
has drawn those who hate America to Iraq, radicals from outside who weren't there when we
arrived. Our mistaken actions have given them ample ammunition to persuade others to join
them in killing our soldiers. And they're not about to leave Iraq just because a democracy has
been established by an occupying force. What a mess! What a quagmire!

So, what shall we do? This is a great question with no easy answer, until you think of
American and coalition soldiers dying. It's time to acknowledge our mistake, develop an exit
strategy, and stop making these soldiers targets. There are plenty of real threats, a few of
which you point out in your article. How are we, as a country, going to respond to them if
large parts of our resources-military and monitory-are going to Afghanistan and Iraq?

Yes, the Unites States has limited resources and we must use them efficiently to provide the
best level of security possible. Our response to hurricane Katrina makes me and many
Americans think we are more vulnerable than we should be. We all should -moms, dads, and
children-be concerned with security. Can our government be trusted to “help us make
informed decisions and be more prepared to respond if something bad happens”? This is an
essential function of government and the answer had better be yes.

Thank you for your article on November 20. Our opinions differ. However, we share similar
concerns regarding security and we ask similar questions, such as, “why aren't we being
given information that puts a face on so-called weapons of mass destruction?” Lets all keep
asking these questions and demanding answers.”

Mark, Great points, but I still believe in the nobility of the Iraq mission, the number one
priority of which was regime change. In the bigger picture, the years-long projected fight
against world-wide terrorism, we've taken out a major threat and liberated many. Don't
forget Saddam paid terrorist families a bounty for murder perpetrated on innocents.

Isn't it great though, we can find some common ground in the midst of all the rancor?

Copyright © 2005 Marietta Daily Journal. All rights reserved.
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http://www.mdjonline.com/articles/2005/11/27/89/10202546.prt

11/28/2005