Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Recommended Diary at Redstate

Front paged at Booman Tribune. Recommended at Daily Kos and Redstate.

No, that is not a typo. And actually, the response that I have received (and am receiving) is a very pleasant surprise. A bit of background – yesterday, I posted a diary here about my thoughts regarding the “surge option”, and thought that this would be an issue that I could get some good dialogue from our RedState counterparts on.

So, I signed up for an account last night, and was very up front (full disclosure as to who I was, etc.) with my thoughts, and, figuring that a wrong step or comment would result in a banning or some other fate worse than death....So, I was clear, concise and direct – but also respectful – all without knowing whether I would get any replies, or if so, replies that would be respectful as well.

And lo and behold, not only were the comments pretty respectful (even if I didn’t agree with them), but they were plentiful and I was surprised to find the diary right smack in the middle of the Recommended Blogs list.

Why did I do this? Well, this was my first venture to RedState (other than some on and off lurking) and I thought this was an issue that would generate some good comments and thoughts, and a healthy debate. I also wasn’t going to go anywhere near Freeperville or LGF because I wasn’t looking to be shouted down or lower my intelligence level just by reading.

And while I think that there are some good and well thought out replies (again, even though I don’t really agree with some of them), I was welcomed by many of them. The moral to me here is that even if you disagree, if you are respectful and make clear points and stay on topic, then dissent is actually welcomed. I guess we can say the same here, piefights nothwithstanding...

If you are interested in reading the comments, I liked the diary above, but if not, then the full text of my diary is below:

Questions about "the surge" from someone on the left

In the interest of full disclosure, I post as a frequent diarist and a front page contributor on some of the "lefty" blogs. And while I have lurked here on and off for some time, I haven't really jumped in to comment or post until now.

So, why now? Well, I posted a piece yesterday with my thoughts on the "surge" that is being discussed and am looking for some thoughts from those of you here.

I don't know if this will be read by a lot of you, but I truly welcome some thoughts other than "yeah, great post", so that is why I am here...While I am and have been a critic of the war in Iraq (but not Afghanistan) for quite some time, my main criticism relates to the troop levels, armor and equipment, as well as the cutting of veteran's benefits when they return.

All that being said, I wanted to lay out some thoughts here about the recent call to add 20,000 - 50,000 troops for a "limited time" and see what the reaction is to my thinking.

I really have two main issues/questions to raise with respect to this (and they are laid out to a degree in my post linked above).

For starters, my thought is that the US needed at least double the number of troops back in 2003, if not more than that. Not my words, but those of General Shinseki and a number of others (not to belabor this point - just as background and I can certainly find sourcing for other Generals or prominent figures if need be). Now that the level of violence is what it is, I don't see how even 50,000 troops would have any material impact.

My argument here is that if we are to build up a troop presence at this stage (and I personally am against this), then we shouldn't do it halfway - we should send in at least another 300,000 - 500,000 troops. Of course, this leads to the question of where we would find this number of troops (among other questions), but if you want to do it right, then we would need much more than 50,000.

I think that it is fairly disingenuous of Senators like Reid and McCain (see, I am equal opportunity here) to call for this number and that they both should know that this wouldn't be more than window dressing for political cover. I think this is even moreso the case when the Joint Chiefs of Staff are unamimously against this, as is soon to be retiring General Abizaid.

My other issue is less strategic than it is dealing with the disconnect between this and setting a timetable for withdrawal. We have heard many indicate that if we set a timetable for withdrawal, then the insurgents will just wait us out until we withdraw. Regardless of whether I agree with this line of thought, the same question would apply to a temporary surge.

Why wouldn't al Sadr or any of the other insurgent groups, militias or terrorists who are in Iraq just wait until the surge is over and the 20,000 - 50,000 troops are redeployed from Iraq before continuing their violence against each other and our remaining troops?

As I said at the beginning of my post, I don't know if this will be read or commented on by many of you, but I do want to see what your thoughts are on these two questions/issues. So as to not be accused of a "drive by post", I will stick around to see if there are comments and will respectfully reply to them, as I am not looking to bait anyone here or stir up crap just for the sake of it (I don't have the patience to do that over at Daily Kos or wherever else I post anyway).

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Not bad, eh?

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