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THURSDAY NIGHT LIVE!

Paul Coletti | 17:08 UK time, Thursday, 11 January 2007

There was only one topic tonight: the new Iraq strategy. Take the poll >>>

Will the extra troops help in Iraq?
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Iraq: The New Strategy.

We’ll first hear from those most affected by the decision: the Iraqis.

Hassan: “I welcome the troops coming. I trust an American checkpoint more than an Iraqi checkpoint. Sometimes the Iraqi soldiers look the other way when sectarian militia come by.”

Captain Eric Coulson of the US Army is in Iraq and he is with us tonight. He blogs here: “I welcome the soldiers and marines. It’s gonna help us put a lid on this.”

We’re privileged to be joined by Richard Perle: “More important than the number of troops is the change in strategy and tactics. The critical task is to achieve a level of security in Baghdad to enable the elected government to provide the services a government is expected to provide.”

Bill Arkin is with us, he blogs for the Washington Post here: “The question is whether or not there will be a change on the ground. I think this strategy is a backhanded way of getting out of Iraq.”

Richard Perle: “I disagree. If the president wanted to get troops out he would. There have been massive failures of execution up till now. The new general seems to understand counterinsurgency.”

Tom is a former British soldier. He called us from London: “The troops need to get out of their vehicles and engage with the locals. It’s about getting out of your wagon and having a game of football with the locals.”

Bill Roggio can be read here: “It’s definitely the right track. I agree with Mr Perle. It’s about how we apply the force. The death squads are really just lightly armed militia.”

Debbie Schlussel has joined us and she blogs here: “I’m not sure 20,000 is enough of a difference”


Mateen is in Iraq, in the far north: “The Iraqi government and the coalition have changed their tactics. They are now saying you are part of the government or not.”

Lubna: “I am so upset that whatever happens to Iraq it happens in spite of our will. When we elected our government we thought this government would represent us but they have let us down. It is not representative of the Iraqis anymore. America created a mess – it is not acceptable for them to leave.”

MJ is on the line from Idaho, she’s a Gold Star mother: “To our men and women serving in Afghanistan is say I hope you’re listening to this woman [Lubna]. Without the Americans being there she would not have had a voice at all.”

Bill Arkin: “Everybody loves to be an armchair general. Let’s be realistic about Iraq and about what the President has decided. The election showed there was dissatisfaction and this change in strategy is a result of that dissatisfaction. Look, the President of the USA is making an important step but it is a step in the direction of getting the USA out of Iraq.”

Seyi is Nigerian and is calling from the USA: “I grew up in a Christian/Muslim country. I’ve sent he divides religions causes. The last election was about this war. The American people don’t want it.”

Bill Roggio: “The insurgency is varied. There’s no single source. The money flows in from the Baath party coffers,. The thing to do is split the elements of the insurgency. In my trips to Anbar I’ve seen how it is done.”

Layla is in Baghdad: “I hope they can secure Baghdad at least”

Frank from Nigeria called to say: “He really enjoyed the programme and the next time I want to hear someone from the spooks – the CIA.” Well Frank, I’ll pass this request onto Debbie who tonight managed to get Richard Perle on the show. I should think the CIA will be easy-peasy for her.

That’s all tonight. A big thank you to Richard Perle and our bloggers: Bill Roggio, Eric Coulson and Debbie Schlussel

That’s all tonight folks. Good night.

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