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Thoughts On The "Troop Surge"

by Geraldo Rivera | Jan 12, 2007

The President went on national television last night and made a stunning admission that since the dramatic elections a year ago, we've been going backwards not forward in Iraq.

"We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together," he said. "But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq -- particularly in Baghdad -- overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made."

In what seems a last ditch effort, given the impatience of the American people about the war, the President, following the advice of our best general, David Petraeus, told us all last night that he's has decided to double the number of troops providing security in bloody Baghdad, and to beef up the under manned Marines in the wild western part of the war-wracked country.

I wish he were sending twice the 20,000. And I oppose throwing away any more American money on idealistic reconstruction projects not related to security. Use it to build guard towers and walls, not schools and clinics that the insurgents have been blowing up before the cement dries. But the President nevertheless deserves our support, and I hope our politicians give him the chance to make Iraq right.

The challenges and cost is undeniable and hard to bear, most painfully our already more than 3,000 brave, war dead. But the only scenario worse than staying the course in Iraq is what happens if we leave. Who then will prevent carnage and conflict from disintegrating into slaughter and genocide?

And while the going is tough everywhere, there has been progress on other fronts in the war on terror. NATO, for instance is claiming that over a hundred suspected militants were killed last night trying to sneak across the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan. And while this has been the bloodiest year there since the US-led coalition ousted the Taliban back in 2001, President Karsai's government continues to make slow progress in a rough, tough environment.

Ironically, the place where there's been the most dramatic recent progress is in Africa, where we had almost given up on tracking al Queda. Over the Christmas holidays, our allies the Ethiopians drove the radical Islamic government out of most of Somalia.

And while there continues to be fighting in the chaotic capital of Mogadishu, violence we know well, the U.S. military is chasing suspected terrorists, including those responsible for the 1998 bombings of our African embassies that killed 225 people and injured thousands more.

According to Somali officials the killers fled to a remote area near the village of Ros Kamboni, a fishing village on near the Kenyan border that we visited 4 years ago on a terror tour of Africa.

While many there denied they harboring terrorists, Somali officials we interviewed told us then they would welcome U.S. military action. Now they have it, the first acknowledged intervention there since the withdrawal of our forces following 'Blackhawk Down' and the failure of the UN's 'Operation Restore Hope' in 1994.

It is a shell of a country and Somalia's people are desperate for law and order.

On a personal note, many of you probably know that I'm returning to the Fox News Channel and that this program, 'Geraldo-At-Large' has been canceled. Our last broadcast will be on January 26, 2007, but this website will be closing after the weekend.

I'll have much more to say about this dramatic change in my professional life toward the end of the month, but I just wanted to remind you that my personal website, www. will remain on the Internet. That's it for now, until next time, thanks for watching.

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