New York Times calls for more troops in Iraq

By Joseph Kay
9 November 2004

The lead editorial in Monday’s New York Times calls for an increase in US troop levels in Iraq by 40,000 soldiers.

The editorial begins with mild criticisms of the “ambitious political and military goals President Bush announced last week for Iraq,” which the Times worries may be unrealizable.

The newspaper proceeds to declare: “[I]f Mr. Bush intends to keep American troops in Iraq until his stated aims are achieved, he must face up to the compelling need to increase their strength, and to commit the resources needed to give present policies at least some chance of success. That would require a minimum of two additional combat divisions, or nearly 40,000 more American troops, beyond the just over 140,000 currently planned for the Iraqi election period.”

The editorial goes on to say, “If Mr. Bush feels he now has a mandate from the voters to stay the course until he creates a stable, unified Iraq, he owes it to the Iraqi people and Americans stationed there to commit enough additional troops to make that look like a plausible possibility.”

The Times’ editorial coincides with the American military’s launching of a massive invasion of Fallujah, a crime of immense proportions that will result in the deaths of thousands of Iraqis. It was written a day after the declaration of martial law by the Iraqi stooge leader Ayad Allawi, a measure intended to give the American military an even freer hand to carry out arbitrary arrests and the violent suppression of resistance.

The newspaper of American liberalism does not offer an ounce of criticism of these actions. On the contrary, it cites the “battle for Fallujah” as one of the challenges confronting the US military, whose “success” necessitates the introduction of more soldiers.

This position is entirely consistent the Times’past support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is also entirely consistent with the newspaper’s endorsement of Democrat John Kerry for president. During his campaign, Kerry repeatedly criticized Bush for not carrying out a full-scale invasion of Fallujah and called for an increase in the size of the American military and a doubling of Special Forces soldiers.

It is highly significant that one of the first post-election editorials on the war from the New York Times—the most influential newspaper of the liberal establishment—calls for an escalation of American involvement. It underscores the fact that in the elections the Democratic Party offered no alternative to Bush. The Times is articulating the positions that Kerry would be promoting had he won last week’s election.

The editors suggest that the sending of more troops to Iraq will serve a civilizing purpose. With more troops, “there might be fewer scenes of stressed and frightened patrols kicking in doors and conducting humiliating household searches. There might be fewer air strikes on populated neighborhoods and fewer prison abuses.”

This is a bare-faced lie. More troops in Iraq will serve one and only one purpose: to increase the efficiency and capacity of the American military to suppress though mass killing and terror what is a growing popular resistance to foreign occupation.

With more troops, there will be more household searches, more air strikes and more abuse. The devastation presently being inflicted on the people of Fallujah will be repeated elsewhere in an effort to crush all resistance. There is no doubt that these actions will likewise receive the support of the New York Times.

According to the newspaper, employing two more divisions in Iraq will require the addition of six active-duty divisions to the Army to allow for proper rotation. The Times declares, “There are more than enough potential fighting-age volunteers to do that without resorting to a draft.”

Another lie. The logic of the Times’position—and the policy of the Bush administration—leads precisely to the reintroduction of the draft. The launching of an illegal war against Iraq and the brutal methods employed by the occupation have generated enormous resistance. The only response that the American government has is an escalation of repression. But the escalation of repression requires more and more troops, and the military is already straining against the limitations of a volunteer army. When the time for a draft comes, the Times will lend its support.

The lies of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda—lies that the Times did much to promote—have been thoroughly discredited. The newspaper and the American media as a whole have resorted to simply repeating the propaganda that the American government puts out about defeating terrorism and ensuring “stability.”

The Times has published nothing that seriously analyzes the purpose of the American occupation or the nature of the opposition that it confronts. It has done nothing to justify its call for sending tens of thousands more American youth to kill and be killed.

The shameful position being staked out by the New York Times demonstrates once again the complete complicity of the media and the liberal establishment in the crimes that are being carried out in Iraq.

Contribute to the fight for socialism in 2020

2019 has been a year of mass social upheaval. We need you to help the WSWS and ICFI make 2020 the year of international socialist revival. We must expand our work and our influence in the international working class. If you agree, donate today. Thank you.