Monday, February 05, 2007

Boots on the Ground Say Troop Surge Unlikely To Work

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Tom Lasseter finds most U.S. soldiers in Baghdad think the troop surge is not going to work:

Army 1st Lt. Antonio Hardy took a slow look around the east Baghdad neighborhood that he and his men were patrolling. He grimaced at the sound of gunshots in the distance. A machine gunner on top of a Humvee scanned the rooftops for snipers. Some of Hardy's men wondered aloud if they'd get hit by a roadside bomb on the way back to their base.

"To be honest, it's going to be like this for a long time to come, no matter what we do," said Hardy, 25, of Atlanta. "I think some people in America don't want to know about all this violence, about all the killings. The people back home are shielded from it; they get it sugar-coated."

While senior military officials and the Bush administration say the president's decision to send more American troops to pacify Baghdad will succeed, many of the soldiers who're already there say it's a lost cause.

Kevin Drum anticipates the response on the right:

Interviews and quotes are a dime a dozen. If you interview enough people you can find quotes to back up any position you feel like taking. But if Lasseter says flatly that "almost every foot soldier" thinks the mission in Baghdad is doomed, that's a whole different matter. If it's true, it almost doesn't matter if the surge is technically feasible. It won't work if the people charged with implementing it no longer believe they have any hope of making a difference.

And a note to the dead-enders: If you want to chalk this up to standard GI griping -- every soldier's traditional right -- I guess no one can stop you. Ditto if you think this is just liberal media bias and Lasseter is holding back on all the positive reactions he got. Just be sure you have a backup position in a few months when it turns out he was right.

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