‘N.Y. Times’ Editorial Calls for More Troops in Iraq

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By: E&P Staff

In a surprising move, The New York Times’ editorial page came out this morning for sending many more troops to Iraq.

The Times, which before last week’s election had been critical of many aspects of the occupation, said (in what could be an influential call) that “right now, what Amreica needs is to get more combat boots on the ground in Iraq.”

While admitting that no amount of soldiers “can guarantee achievement of the ambitious political and military goals President Bush announced last week for Iraq” — and noting that the “overall situation is grim” — the paper nevertheless declared that the president “must face up to the compelling needs to increase” troop strength.

“That would require,” the editorial continued, “a minimum of two additional combat divisions, or nearly 40,000 more American troops.”

The Times asserted that with forces stretched thin, military personnel are too worried about their own security to carry out the many challenges facing them, from rebuilding to preparing for elections. The editorial did not address the question of why so many Iraqis actually want fewer, not more, U.S. troops in their country.

The editorial sketched a positive scenario in which a larger troop presence allowed the Americans, among other things, to carry out fewer air strikes and commit fewer prison abuses, adding: “With more backup and relief available, there might be fewer scenes of stressed and frightened patrols kicking in doors and conducting humiliating household searches.”

Where would these new troops come from? “That can be accomplished through a significant further increase in recruitment quotas,” the Times said. The paper thinks this will not be hard to manage, “especially if the prospective recruits know they will not be sent into a situation where too few troops must handle too many tasks.”

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