This past weekend I spent a lot of time playing Empire Earth. For those not familiar with the game, it is a strategy game in which you build up a community starting with a small village and form a powerful army to take over other player's (in my case the computer) territory. I have a few cheats for this game that give you unlimited resources allowing you to quickly build up an army. However, even when using these cheats I find it very difficult to beat the computer.
My two basic strategies have been to send hundreds of soldiers to the computer's territory to defeat them. When some of my soldiers are killed I simply send new ones trying to wear down the computer. My other strategy has been to build up a big fort to be ready when the computer attacks me. My hope is that they will use all their resources to attack my fort but will run out quickly because I am so prepared in my territory.
Both of these strategies have failed.
A couple nights ago I thought about how the proposed solutions to the Iraq war by the current President and by those seeking the office in the 2008 election are no better then my faulty Empire Earth strategy that even my computer's artificial intelligence can defeat.
President Bush continues to preach "stay the course" trying to enstill hope in the country by developing a plan that is centered on troop escalation. Many of the republicans that have thrown their hat in for President have supported this strategy.
Senators Obama and Clinton have made it clear that they want a troop de-escalation, bringing our troops home as soon as possible. I think it is safe to say this option represents how many democrats feel.
While I once felt my personal stance was leaning torward troop deescalation I have taken a step back and realized that no one has proposed a viable and worthy strategy for this war.
I understand that there is more thought behind Bush's troop esclation plan then just throwing more troops into the mix. But ultimately that is all we are doing. More troops=more resources to contain the insurgency. This plan is doomed to fail. The insurgency is not about numbers, its about the ideology and motivation of the men and women that are sacrificing their lives to send a message to the US through roadside bombs, suicide bombers, etc. It is a mental war, not one based on resources.
Bring the troops home? Yes, this will save the lives of many of our soldiers that would have perished had we remained. But for Iraq what does this accomplish? Nothing. Whether or not you were for or against this war (for the record I was not - and I definately side with what Obama has written in his book "The Audacity of Hope" that we rushed into this war without good reason and judgement) we took away Iraq's infastructure and any hope they had for peace when we toppled Hussein's government. A simple sense of doing what is right and just tells me we cannot abandon the Iraqi people.
So when are we going to have a politician and/or presidential hopeful that puts forward a plan that is more creative then throwing a lot of troops at the problem, or bringing them all home? When are we going to have a leader that realizes that this war will be one with not only military force but also diplomacy and an effort to understand the enemy's motivation?
My favorite line by the Republican party when defending the current state of the war is "This war is different from any war we have faced." If it is so different then why are we throwing the same solutions of military force at the problem and not being more creative?