Some soldiers disagree with Bush's strategy
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) -- Some U.S. soldiers aren't convinced that President Bush's plan to send as many as 20,000 more troops to Iraq will make a difference.
Pfc. Odom Walker, who served in Iraq two years ago and is stationed at Fort Drum in northern New York state, worries that the window of opportunity has passed.
"This is what we should have done in the first place," said Walker, of Montgomery, Ala. "We could have done the job right. Now it might be too late."
Bush is to address the nation today on a new strategy for the war in Iraq, and he is expected to send thousands more troops to Iraq's most troubled regions, Baghdad and western Anbar province. The troop increase could bring the U.S. total in Iraq to about 152,000.
Master Sgt. Mark Brown, who just came home to Fort Campbell from his second deployment in Iraq, said that more troops could help stabilize Iraq, but that he knows most Americans don't like the idea.
"Americans want a winning team, and right now it appears we don't have one," Brown said.
Other soldiers say the U.S. strategy in Iraq has to be about more than troop numbers.
Juan Duff, a recently retired Marine sergeant major from Camp Pendleton, Calif., said a troop escalation would work only if Iraqi security forces bolster their efforts to fight insurgents.
"My concern is what the Iraqis are doing. Are they stepping up?" said Duff, who served in Iraq in 2003.
Fresh out of basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., 19-year-old Zac McDonald said that he expects to be part of the next wave of soldiers in Iraq, and that he hopes military leaders have plans to use the new troops well.
"They have to come up with a better strategy," said McDonald, who just arrived at Fort Campbell. "More troops isn't enough."
Lt. Col. Chris Beckert of Madison, Conn., helps train U.S. soldiers at Fort Riley, Kan., and served in Iraq during the initial invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein. He agreed that there had to be a reason for boosting troop levels and a clearly defined mission.
"I needed more intelligence, not more soldiers," Beckert said.
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