Preparing for the Prince of Persia
Vol: 63 Issue: 20 Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Yesterday, and for the first time since the beginning of the Iraq War, President Bush announced that he was increasing the US troop presence in Iraq. And not just in Iraq. Bush plans to increase the size of the military itself.
“I’m inclined to believe that we do need to increase our troops the Army, the Marines,” Bush said yesterday as Rumsfeld’s replacement, Robert Gates, made a surprise trip to Baghdad.
“And I talked about this to Secretary Gates and he is going to spend some time talking to the folks in the building, come back with a recommendation to me about how to proceed forward on this idea.”
That is precisely the opposite of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s strategy that says ‘less is more.’
Of course, one might argue that Rumsfeld’s strategy failed, so it makes sense to take a new direction. But 180 degrees is not merely a new direction, its also the opposite direction. There is more to this than meets the eye.
Rumsfeld’s strategy is only part of the problem with the war in Iraq. An increase in the size of the military and the number of boots on the ground won’t have any positive effect unless the military is allowed to conduct the war without interference from the politicians or the press.
All eyes are on Iraq — it’s been the centerpiece of a political fight since before the first shots were fired. Everybody has an opinion about Iraq, and all those opinions are based in politics.
For the most part, the loudest voices against the war in 2003 were shouting “Bush Stole the Election” in 2001. For them, it wasn’t about Iraq, it was about George Bush. Iraq was just a convenient club to bash him with.
Unfortunately for America, that includes most of the liberal mainstream media. Secret war plans are leaked to and published by the New York Times to embarrass the administration, regardless of any advantage it might hand to the enemy.
More troops and a bigger military won’t change that.
Those who supported Bush initially supported the war, but years of constant bad news and anti-administration propaganda has ground down all but the most ardent Bush supporters, while encouraging the enemy and aiding their recruiting efforts.
One doesn’t hear very much at all about the war in Afghanistan. Why is that? Same administration. Same Donald Rumsfeld. But in Afghanistan, we’re winning.
The reason is because the Left and the mainstream media have pretty much left Afghanistan alone. There was a direct link between Afghanistan and 9/11, so there wasn’t much controversy to stir up and no political advantage to be gained by opposing it.
The politicians and the press left Afghanistan to the military. That’s the difference. Not more troops. And Bush and the planners at the Pentagon know that.
There isn’t anything they can do about the press or the macabre political games that are responsible for keeping Iraq from turning out like Afghanistan. That’s what is broken.
Adding more troops can’t fix that problem. Bush knows it. So does the liberal left.
“Instead of changing course for the better, the president’s plan for more troops will make matters worse in Iraq as many generals agree,” said Teddy Kennedy, who previously led the charge to send in more troops.
The Left only demanded more troops because Bush opposed it. So why fix something that isn’t broken without making any effort to fix what is?
As I said earlier, there is more to this than meets the eye. Expanding the size of the military won’t defeat the insurgency in Iraq. We’ve more than 130,000 troops there now, fighting less than 20,000 jihadists. It isn’t about Iraq.
The United States has been quietly building up forces in and around the Persian Gulf in what is being termed ‘a show of force’ to try and scare Ahmadinejad out of pursuing his nuclear ambitions.
But it makes little sense to believe Ahmadinejad will be discouraged by a military show. This week, Ahmadinejad repeated his expectation that both the Mahdi and Jesus are about to return.
“All I want to say is that the age of hardship, threat and spite will come to an end someday and, God willing, Jesus would return to the world along with the emergence of the descendant of the Islam’s holy prophet, Imam Mahdi, and wipe away every tinge of oppression, pain and agony from the face of the world,” Ahmadinejad said.
Last year, Ahmadinejad openly admitted in a public speech that he views his main mission in life as being to “pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance.”
Ahmadinejad isn’t going to be scared off by a threat that he thinks will fulfill his religious destiny, anymore than a suicide bomber is deterred by the fact he won’t survive his attack.
This morning, he reiterated his defiance, saying UN sanctions would not stop Iran from continuing its nuclear program.
Here’s where the dots start to connect to reveal the emerging picture. It was reported today that the US has sent another aircraft carrier into the Gulf to join the naval forces already in place.
The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is already in the region. It left the United States in late September with four other Norfolk-based ships and submarines carrying 6,500 sailors.
The flotilla headed to the Mediterranean Sea, ostensibly to relieve the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Enterprise strike group, which was in the region supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And, in late October, the US led a naval training exercise aimed at blocking smuggling of nuclear weapons in the Persian Gulf. And now a new carrier group is headed that way.
Taken together with Israeli estimates that Iran will have reached the nuclear point of no return sometime by mid-2007, the emerging picture grows more ominous.
The United States has military bases, military equipment, war materiel and veteran combat forces flanking Iran on both its eastern and western borders in Iraq and Afghanistan. We already have enough troops in both those countries to do their respective jobs.
What we don’t have are enough troops to take on the additional challenge of invading Iran.
Taken in context, expanding the entire military and increasing troop strength in the region makes a lot more sense.