President Bush only has one opportunity to fix the mess that has become Iraq. Mr. Bush's plan to increase troops there, outlined in a national address Wednesday night, is the right strategy, but we worry it may not have enough firepower. Iraq's unstable condition has demanded more troops for some time, and the Bush administration now admits that sectarian violence is out of control.
The mission is to add about 21,500 U.S. soldiers and Marines to the 160,000 troops already in Iraq - mostly for action in Baghdad and the Anbar province where al-Qaida is active. This holds promise for success. We are encouraged by stepped-up coalition military attacks in recent days, which have been successful.
- The Detroit News
The increase of U.S. forces in Iraq that President Bush announced Wednesday night offers practically no chance of thwarting the Sunni Arab insurgency or quelling the sectarian civil war that is turning life there into a nightmarish inferno for Sunnis and Shiites alike. The changes Mr. Bush proposed reflect a refusal to recognize the durability of the Sunni insurgency and the deeply rooted communal passions that have been loosed.
There is really nothing new about the "new strategy" Mr. Bush proposed. There were earlier attempts to tamp down the insurgency and the sectarian violence by deploying more U.S. troops to Baghdad, and they failed utterly. A surge of U.S. forces in Baghdad last summer only resulted in a higher death toll.
- The Boston Globe
President Bush wants 21,500 more troops to secure Baghdad street by street, block by block. It's a strategy we support, especially if coupled with rules of engagement that give our soldiers a fighting chance. An additional five divisions may not sound like a lot. But if we also change the rules of engagement that these troops are required to follow, that should be enough to quell the Sunni and Shiite militias that have brought death and disorder to Baghdad and Anbar provinces. ...
That more than 3,000 of our men and women have died since the start of the war in 2003 is tragic. But many of those deaths were no doubt due to excessively stringent rules of engagement.
Those who think we can win a global war against Islamo-fascist fanatics by turning our soldiers into urban planners, aid administrators and project managers are wrong. Dead wrong.
- Investor's Business Daily