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Stabilization in Iraq

A win-win solution for everyone except the bad guys...

by Michael H. Thomson
April 25, 2007

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Stabilization in Iraq
Headline: Nine Young People Killed by Deranged Man with Bomb. If that headline were in the New York Times, USA Today, or reported on MSNBC or CNN, a media feeding frenzy would begin. The parents of the deceased would be interviewed; friends and former classmates would give their reactions, counseling sessions would be scheduled, the killer would be analyzed, motives sought, and generally the American public would experience a 48 to 72 hour news cycle on the subject.
In fact, on April 24, just this week, nine young people were killed by a deranged man with a bomb. There has not been media frenzy. The story is struggling to hang on. By tomorrow the only place you will find it will be in local papers - it has little news value to thrill seeking media junkies.
The story: In a suicide truck-bomb attack, nine American paratroopers of the famed 82nd Airborne Division were killed. "An insurgent group that includes al-Qaida" claimed responsibility for the attack. Just in case you forgot, which it seems most Americans have, al-Qaida massacred 3000 of our fellow citizens on September 11, 2001. Since that time, we have lost 3333 fellow citizens – real people with real families who love them – combating those forces whose goal is to bring the American people to their knees.
Those of you who have read my previous articles that have touched on this subject – please do not make the mistake of thinking I am against the war. I am not. I am however against the way it is being fought and the leadership of this country - including our President - who do not seem serious about a successful conclusion.
Now if you are truly against the war, let me give you some real bad news: A political sea change is not going to bring our troops home. Hillary is not going to do it. Barack Obama will quickly change his mind once he receives his first National Security briefing, and John Edwards would be quickly impeached if he starts withdrawing forces.
I paid $2.86 per gallon for gasoline yesterday. This once again reminded me that oil hungry America is not going to withdraw or lose influence in a country that has the second largest oil reserve in the world. Barack Obama, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, or any other dark horse wannabe is not going to let the Chinese or any other country have "our" oil. This of course is simplistic, but I challenge the reader to deny the logic. So how do we go about winning this war with the least amount of pain?
Winning the war is probably the wrong plan. Who are we fighting against? Sunnis, Shiia, Al-Qaeda? Given all the forces fighting each other and fighting us, the only practical solution is stabilization i.e. as in stabilizing Bosnia.
Is the oil worth it? Until Americans give up their pick-up trucks, 3-vehicle households, SUV's, luxury yachts, ski boats, private planes and jets, RV's, and discard their NASCAR habit, we silently, but strongly say, YES!
Former Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell wisely suggested that we increase the troop ratio to win. This is not real tough math. If we had five hundred to six hundred thousand pairs of boots on the ground in Iraq, the small nation (27,500,000) would be subdued in a relatively short period. This of course would cost Americans more in taxes, but WE WOULD HAVE THE OIL!
Right now, the military is so depleted in troops that it would be impossible to field 500,000 soldiers anywhere. The traditional solution, of course, is conscription. The feared "D" word - the Draft.
The Draft is very unpopular in our nation. The general attitude in this country is to let someone else's kids do the fighting. In addition, our population demographics are not the same as they were in WWII, Korea, and even Vietnam. Congressman Charles Rangel (Dem – NY) tried to get a draft bill started in January of this year and it was DOA (dead on arrival).
So where does a country with over 300,000,000 people go to when it is seriously lacking manpower for its national security needs?
It could turn to the 20,900,000 illegal aliens residing in this country. Long silence… I can hear the shocked gasps across the Partial Observer readership.
Realistically, this is not a bad solution. Here we have millions of people who have already risked their lives to get to this country. They are hard working, honest, and willing to take jobs that Americans are not willing to do. However, there's a problem. Actually, there are several problems but I'll just talk about one.
The real problem with illegal immigration that no one speaks about is saturation i.e. at some point all the low paying jobs – hotel employees, landscapers, farm workers, laborers, and restaurant employees – will be filled. All illegals that come after the saturation point will be excess. And yes, despite what the pundits say - they'll keep coming. Millions of undocumented aliens with no work to do poses a real social problem.
My bet is that we would not have to draft these people to get them to serve. Let's say we take five percent of the illegal alien male population and let them volunteer for the military. That's roughly half a million new troops. There are currently enough Hispanics already in the military to form training brigades to ease the transition for these newcomers. The language is not as big a problem as one might think - Spanish is almost a de facto second language in this country already. Here's the incentive – and it's been used before in our history:
After the new soldiers, sailors, and marines have served three years, citizenship awaits. Because they came to this country illegally, they still must pay a price – they're only compensated at three-quarters of the pay of our regular troops – that is until they reenlist past their three-year hitch. Soldiering is an assimilating experience so the country would benefit when the veterans returned home.
If you honestly think we are going to deport the 20,000,000 illegals that are already here, I think you may have serious personal issues not excluding substance abuse. These amigos are our brothers and sisters whether we like it or not. Becoming a part of this nation by fighting for it is an honorable solution to seemingly impossible problems in the military and on the home front.
I await your slings and arrows...

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Brian Mack from Grand Rapids, MI writes:
May 1, 2007

I too have grave misgivings about the war in Iraq, the questionable way in which the U.S. entered it, and it's management up to this point. I have also stated in previous posts that I am NOT in favor of a troop pull out. Now that we have imposed ourselves on this country, we have a responsibility to protect the innocents caught in the crossfire.

I will leave the speculation on conscription etc. to you and those others with more knowledge of military matters. Although I will say that your proposal would seem to have some merit worth consideration. Unfortunately, well reasoned ideas and anything having to do with our government rarely go hand in hand. So the likelyhood of this brainstorm gaining any traction with our leaders in Washington is probably not very high.

What I am most perplexed by is all the talk about "Victory in Iraq". In my mind, this concept has never been specifically defined. Do we know what our current administration's vision for "victory" even is? Or are they simply biding their time maintaining the status quo until their term ends and the problem is passed on to their successor? Just what impact are an additional 20,000 or 200,000 troops expected to accomplish?

Four years ago today, George W. Bush stood on the deck of that aircraft carrier with a big banner hung behind him announcing "Mission Accomplished". Since that time thousands more lives have been lost. While it's true that over 3,000 American service-people have been killed, the number of Iraqi dead eclipse that by a factor of more than 10. So what have we really accomplished???

God Bless America (and the rest of the world too)!

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