Thomas Friedman, the NYT's foreign policy brain, is calling for more troops on the ground in Iraq. As every city, tribe and religious klan forms independent militias to protect turf or seize power, Iraq is beginning to Balkanize. Right now, the US Military doesn't have sufficient numbers of soldiers to beat back the sort of neighborhood-based, internecine conflict NATO faced in Kosovo, which if it erupts in Iraq will be much larger and much bloodier. Friedman wants more 'boots on the ground,' and it is hard to argue against him.
So 'more boots on the ground' = more troops than we currently have. With the Military missing recruitment goals, evidenced by their desperate recruiting at local high schools, where are these soldiers going to come from? Congress suggests doubling the $30k signing bonus to lure in more red, white and blue Fayette County farm-boys; but as the steadily declining enlistment figures show, most Americans think no amount of cash is worth a trip to Kirkuk. Further hindering recruitment efforts is the absence of the sort of clear-cut, moral imperative to drive enlistment campaigns. America just doesn't give a damned if Iraq fails if it requires their involvement.
Some in Congress are demanding 'firm timetables for withdrawl,' which is patently absurd: predictions for a withdrawl are measured in years. Congress isn't going to be able to sneak out the back door on this one by leaving Iraq early, because unlike Vietnam, this place sits in the heart of our oil supply. Chirac and Schroeder owe their careers to opposing the US invasion, so France and Germany aren't expanding their role anytime soon. Little chance in expanding NATO's role beyond 'Training' missions, either. No easy way to meet our expanding appetite for soldiers... well that is, unless... well... DRAFT.
Got a big, nasty tar-baby on our hands, and no where to lookto for more bodies but a draft. Quite a few in Congress will lose their seats if they reinstitute a draft, and the Republicans would have to tone down their characteristic hawkishness for decades to come. An American public, already disenchanted with the war, will probably explode.
Deep in the seventh layer of Hell, Ho Chi Minh is laughing his ass off.