Soldier Asks What Will "Next Story" Be To Keep Troops In Iraq
U.S. troops cheered as news of Saddam's execution appeared on television at the mess hall at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in eastern Baghdad. But some soldiers expressed doubt that Saddam's death would be a significant turning point for Iraq.
"First it was weapons of mass destruction. Then when there were none, it was that we had to find Saddam. We did that, but then it was that we had to put him on trial,'' said Spc. Thomas Sheck, 25, who is on his second tour in Iraq. "So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?''
That's a very good question. Does anyone have an answer?
The most recent "next story" given by President Bush for staying in Iraq was "to take the lead, and to deal with these radicals and extremists, and to help support young democracies. It's the calling of our time."
Of course, the "Bush Doctrine" on fledgling Middle East democracies doesn't extend to the Palestinians, Lebanese or Egyptians. That's what happens when you have a foreign policy that is one part failed neocon theory and one part empty catch phrases and other conservative spin.
Just 16 percent of Americans think the federal government reflects the "will of the people." Just 11 percent agree with the latest neocon theory -- the "McCain Doctrine" -- which calls for the U.S. to increase troops levels in Iraq. Bush is expected to follow through on this gameplan.
The administration spin -- the "next story" -- is that by increasing troops, the U.S. can gain control over violence in Baghdad, then speed up the handover of territory to Iraqi forces.
It sounds good on paper, but the Bush Administration has been wrong so many times on Iraq, Americans have the right to be skeptical.
Lawrence Korb, assistant defense secretary in the Reagan Administration, offered two reasons to be worried that this "next story" will not be the last: "If you send another 20,000 more troops, casualties are going to go up, you're going to increase the Iraqi's dependence on us."
And of course, there are s problem with stretching the military so thin -- ranging from anxiety, depression and acute stress to suicide. But such concerns rarely get in the way of neocon theory.