By Charles ParsleyWhat with the renewed interest in the War in Iraq, I myself have many questions about what is being said about the war and what to do about it. I'd like to hear some dialogue from the contributors at Liverputty, if we can keep a discussion from becoming an argument.
The main thing that I find very surprising about the War in Iraq are the numbers of troops that are being given. I have heard estimates that there are about 140,000 troops there now, with the possibility of sending 20,000 more. These numbers seem very low, especially when military commanders then say that they are 'stretched thin as it is', and that finding additional resources will be difficult.
How is it that the US would have difficulty sending troops someplace? Aren't we the world's military superpower, or am I mistaken? Does China have more troops on-call than we do? Surely the insurgents in Iraq cannot outnumber American troops.
Why does the US have difficulty with these wars, such as Vietnam? I am wondering, since World War Two, has the US been able to claim a clear victory in any war since? Even the war on drugs and the war on poverty and the war on christmas are being lost.
After reading through the numerous articles in Wikipedia, I discovered a few surprising things. Also, I discovered the first gratuitous vandalism I have come across in a wikipedia article: the page about George W. Bush himself. This article about GWB may be a good litmus test of the limitations of Wikipedia's open-sourceness. Can Wikipedia create an accurate and uncontested and unvandalized profile of George W? As long as the article is open to editing, surely it gets altered on an hourly basis.
Accepting these limitations in Wikipedia is what prompts my questioning. However, if Wikipedia cannot put forth reasonably accurate information with all of its contributors and references and cross-refernces, who is it that can verify 'facts' about the war?
In addition to the number of troops the US has available to utilize, I am surprised with these numbers:
The estimated expense of the Iraq War as of December 2006: 350 billion, and,
The miltary says it has lost forty percent of its equipment (ground vehicles and helicopters mostly) in Iraq, and it will take an additional 3 or 4 billion to replace it.
Should the war continue at its current pace, in a few months the military may say it has lost fifty percent of its equipment. I find this... unbelievable. Nearly half of the military's equipment has been damaged or destroyed in Iraq?
Another question which I find many others asking: Why didn't the US stop once Saddam was captured? Maybe the WMD claims were inaccurate, or maybe they were accurate but the weapons were stealthily removed. Yet it is undeniable that Hussein was captured and put on trial. Why wasn't that the victory?
I will admit that one opinion of mine has changed since the war started. At first, I was among those who thought that the invasion was mainly to secure American business interests as related to oil. Now, it seems like having access to the oil in the region is small potatoes.
However, I never expected that the Iraqis would really welcome the Americans as liberators. It seems like they really do want us to get out of there.