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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

How do we finish the job we started?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I have no idea if committing more troops to the war in Iraq is the right thing to do. When the President announced Wednesday night that more than 20,000 additional soldiers would be sent to the Middle East, I listened with cautious optimism. But that's only because I want to be optimistic and hopeful that the nightmare in Iraq will soon have a successful ending.

No one really knows if more troops is part of the answer. I assume the easy path would simply be to accept that the problems there are a civil war and we have no need to participate. Yet if terrorism is permitted to grow in that part of the world we have to assume that it will cross our borders again someday.

In a perfect world, our troops and all of those stationed in Iraq would be heading home today. We would turn over full responsibilities to the Iraqi government and assume they have the will and the resources to battle their internal problem. But it's not a perfect world and the result of a full pullout is less than hopeful. So we change our plans, we modify our policies and we try to do the job we started.

Let me return to a theme I have voiced on countless occasions in the past. To my limited intellect, I'm befuddled on just why we don't fully use the resources at our disposal. Here's the example. Baghdad is approximately the size of New York City. It is there that the bulk of the fighting and the casualties occur. Within Baghdad, we have isolated the overwhelming terrorist presence to specific neighborhoods. Now don't misunderstand. These neighborhoods are larger than our entire community.

But since we know that the violence is in specific areas, why not use our air power to send a clear signal that we mean business. When we first arrived in Iraq it was with overpowering air power. We leveled areas known to harbor terrorists. Yes, there were civilian deaths. And yes, that is a tragedy. But war for survival changes the rules.

So why send young men and women on foot through these neighborhoods? Why not send wave after wave of air power into these sections and allow the Iraqi military to clean up the mess? Our country spends billions of dollars on sophisticated aircraft and yet, we continue to rely on individual soldiers to go into harm's way.

If it takes 20,000 more troops, then so be it. But it's less about troop numbers than it is about the will and resolve of the American public to get the job done regardless of the costs.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen