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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Will extra UK troops enforce calm in Iraq?
A British soldier closes the gate to the army barracks, as a group of demonstrators show their support for the British troops in the town of Amara, Iraq
Extra British troops have rolled into the Iraqi town where six military policemen were killed this week.

Five hundred servicemen arrived in what the army calls "a show of teeth" and leaflets have been dropped onto the town assuring locals they will not all be punished for the crimes of a few.

Security and softer tactics of patrolling communities without helmets or flak jackets, were urgently reviewed after the men were killed by a mob on Tuesday.

Do you think troop reinforcements will help create peace? Should British servicemen be withdrawn from Iraq? Should British military tactics become more like the Americans'?

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

I have a friend going to Iraq on Monday with a bunch of 18-year-olds. Why should they be put at risk by lack of planning? Unless troops are properly equipped, properly briefed as to what to do when faced by local hostility and how to show respect to Iraq customs then we should not send them. If we do it is we who must take full responsibility for their deaths.
Miss T Lamb, Northumberland, UK

I wonder what arms the RMP were carrying. I suspect it would be automatic pistols with limited ammunition. Unless they had been equipped with rifles, and given their role, that is unlikely, they would have had little chance against AK47s and other semi and fully automatic weapons. It would seem very easy to discover if they had a radio but given we do not know where they were in relation to their next formation it is difficult to judge.
Richard Drew, Norwich UK

What is the exact assignment of these troops?
Olivier, Belgium/France
More troops to do what exactly? Secure the troops that are already there? Is that a way to admit that these troops are occupying troops (the Iraqis fight the UK/US presence on their soil) and not liberating troops? What is the exact assignment of these troops then? I am not even talking about the legitimacy of their action. I am very curious about how the situation there will evolve in the coming years. I just hope the US and UK will clean up their own mess and have the decency not to involve the UN or neighbouring countries in it.
Olivier, Belgium/France

One of the bizarre things about being an "army of occupation" is that you take flak for doing the ordinary law enforcement things that the country's own policemen would normally do. This is what is happening in Iraq now.
Peter, UK

My sincere condolences on the tragic loss of life of the six Royal Military Police members. Having been a serving member of the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police, I feel a close empathy in their loss. Please pass on this message of condolence to the RMPC.
Brian Francis Kinnane, Perth, Western Australia

More forces will not solve the problem. Instead teach the forces appropriate behaviour in Arab countries. No dogs, no staring at women, do not show the soles of your feet, things take time, refer to the clan chiefs for support, etc. Their leaders need to realise that they are not in a European country. And no, the Iraqis are not Saddam loyalists. Most are content that he is gone, but now they want the occupiers out or at least to keep their promises. How do we expect them to co-operate with the forces there, when, as happened in Baghdad, the US just turns off the electricity when they are angry with the Iraqis? That does not make for good relations.
Eva Brown, Luxembourg

Peace needs far more troops than war
Phil Spiers, Henley, UK
Peace needs far more troops than war as you cannot rely on firepower to help you police. We need a visible preventative presence on every street corner if we are to properly 'calm' Iraq. If we fail to do this then we may as well withdraw as we will only have the necessary manpower to tread water and little will be achieved at great cost.
Phil Spiers, Henley, UK

And just where are we going to get these troops? There are about 14,000 in Iraq from of a force of 109,000 personnel in the army. Factor in the need to rotate people, training etc and you will quickly realise that the army will add a new dimension to the phrase "overstretch". The problem is that the government cannot predict how long this extra force would be needed. It could be years. Perhaps all those who supported the principle of a war, and believed Alistair C and his acolytes in No 10 about the WMD, should pay more taxes so that the army can be expanded.
Paul Hopkins, Oxford, UK

Perhaps Campbell might like to take a moment out from his blatant bullying and offer an apology to the families of the six dead UK soldiers. The complacency is less with military operation, with should stay unchanged, but with the governments attitude to dealing with Iraq and the expectation of being overwhelming welcomed in this ill-judged war.
Barry B, UK

Yes, more troops should be sent to reinforce. It is a matter of time before Saddam loyalists are eradicated. There will always be some form of terrorism and some will continue to die and this is a price to pay for being the world policemen. The focus should be on resuming electricity, water, civilian security and other necessities. Once the general population is at ease, other positive things will start to happen.
Chandru, California, USA

Perhaps we should be honest about what the US and UK Governments and their media and supporters are saying; the Arabs can't run their own country so we will.
Steve, UK

In this climate the coalition cannot carry out a peacekeeping role
David, Lincoln, UK
The army of liberation has become an army of occupation and is perceived by the local population as imperialistic and wanting control of Iraq's oil. In this climate the coalition cannot carry out a peacekeeping role. Neither is it culturally or linguistically equipped to do so in a Muslim country. The only option is a multi-national peacekeeping force under the auspices of the UN. But this is unacceptable to the US because this gives a political role to the UN and takes away the US's ability to determine the disposal of Iraq's oil revenues.
David, Lincoln, UK

It's a matter of logistics as to whether reinforcements are needed. I don't think pulling out would set a good precedent or represent the best option at this time for Britain or Iraq. I would suggest that the British do not adopt American tactics. I would suggest reaching out to the secularists, democrats and feminists and encourage them to take charge as they are the only counterbalance available to prevent Iraq from sliding into a Shiite theocracy like Iran.

I agree with Mr Hoon. Regardless of the merits of the initial invasion, the fact that the coalition did remove the previous administration. We cannot afford another Rwanda-like situation where at the first sign of trouble the foreign forces leave. The coalition pledged to help the people of Iraq and that undertaking will cost lives and money. As many soldiers as are needed should be sent to Iraq, but when the situation is stable, they should leave.
Margaret Nganga, Kenya

Sending more troops to Iraq isn't going to change the fact that they are not wanted there by the majority of Iraqis. It is clear that they are hugely resented and an increase in numbers will only harden that resentment. The Iraqis want the west out of their country as soon as possible. Rebuilding and a democratic government should be a priority, but I am pessimistic about the future of Iraq once the coalition troops leave anyhow.
Patricia Martchenko, Toronto, Canada

More troops would escalate the tension
Pauline, Raleigh, NC
It is time for the UN to step in, form a true coalition of nations, including the Arab world, and restore order in Iraq. More troops, both American and British, would only escalate the tension. It is also time to admit that the war is far from over. This scenario is precisely what Saddam Hussein hoped to accomplish. The British and Americans are now losing face throughout the Arab (Muslim) world, creating more hatred and distrust.
Pauline, Raleigh, NC

It is time to withdraw the coalition forces from Iraq. Continued presence will do more harm than good. There is no genuine reason to stay as Iraq is not a threat to us or its neighbours. It has no WMD at the ready and Saddam has been deposed. Obviously the Americans are not remaining for altruistic reasons. Blair should bring the troops home now and perhaps salvage some personal credibility.
Allen Glennie, Belfast, N Ireland.

We do need to increase the number of soldiers on the ground
John Smith, UK
We shouldn't alter our tactics in any way. The sight of fully armed and armoured soldiers on the streets will do nothing to help the current situation. The British "softly softly" approach has been more successful in building relationships with local Iraqi citizen than American patrolling. However, we do need to increase the number of soldiers on the ground. Pulling out a third of our troops this soon after a war was never a sensible move and should be reversed.
John Smith, UK

There is far too great a divide between Arab culture and western civilisation. We had no right to invade in the first place and certainly no right to occupy their land. The Iraqi people need to find their own solution and be given help at arms length. Our forces are in a no win situation against a determined guerrilla war.
J Wilson, Castleford, UK

Yes, reinforce the victory and ignore the naysayers. Though poorly planned, post-war operations are going well. Don't let the anti-war crowd cloud clear thinking on the matter.
Dan, Point Pleasant, USA

The United Nations has to intervene now
Roniqk Fayed Khan, Lahore
The Iraqi war has resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians. Resistance is bound to happen. It is about time the reins of power of Iraq are handed over to the real owners of Iraq, the people, through just and democratic elections, and that control of their oil reserves are also handed over to the new government. The United Nations has to intervene now, before the present scenario goes from bad to worst.
Roniqk Fayed Khan, Lahore

If liberating Iraq is the only reason why Britain went in (as many people now claim since WMD can't be found), you can't just get up and leave. Britain can't leave the job half finished.
Bill Tsoukalas, Australia

The present approach is not working
Peter Smith, Lytham St Annes, UK
Yes, more troops should be sent out to get the situation under control. This would then make it easier to ensure that things get done quickly and that the people who are eventually put in charge of Iraq have no connections to the old regime or the Baath party. The present approach is not working, with too much too much expected of so few. This will save money and the lives of our fantastic and very brave service personnel.
Peter Smith, Lytham St Annes, UK

No, the British government should not send more troops. What for? Would that guarantee more security? What they have to do is to find the WMD. I don't think more troops would help speed up the search process. Find the WMD (if they do exist), and go home. Leave the democracy process to the Iraqis. Democracy or not, let them decide. Don't impose it on them. I don't think the British military need to apply the American tactics.
Andre, Indonesia

The UN should step in and place in Iraq soldiers from non-militant Islamic countries such as Egypt, Turkey and Malaysia. Toby, Spain (originally UK)

They do a very important job
Dawn Shapcott, Barnsley, England
As the fiancée of a soldier who has just departed for Iraq, most people might think that I would wish that they brought all the troops back. However, British forces have always been respected by many people and they do a very important job, especially when it comes to rebuilding Iraq. All we can do, is stop debating whether or not they should be there and start, or keep, giving them all our support and love.
Dawn Shapcott, Barnsley, England

This is a predictable result of an invasion which should never have taken place. Conception rotten, outcome rotten. The Iraqis will end up loathing us. The British public will lose all trust in politicians, if they have not already done so. The racist stupidity of sending dogs into Shiite Muslim homes is the same racist stupidity which got us chucked out of India. Bring the troops home or there will be worse to follow.
Gillian Booth, Glastonbury, UK

UK and US troop reinforcements will radicalise and legitimise the action of those who see them as an occupying force. Please forget your pride and do it for the innocent and brave soldiers stuck in the middle.
Cheikh Diop, Dakar, Senegal

Pull our troops out now before more lives are lost
Lisa Comley, Essex, England
Now it's time for Tony Blair to do something for this country and pull our troops out of this mess Bush has put us in. If it's liberation the Iraqi people want, let them have it. Pull our troops out now before more lives are lost due to this no-win situation.
Lisa Comley, Essex, England

You cannot build a democracy by sending in more troops, that's called occupation. Unfortunately our government got us into this, and now we have a moral obligation to preserve the fragile peace. I can only see Iraqi resentment growing if we send in more troops. All in all, we should never have followed Bush into this illegal war!
Alan Twomlow, UK

No, British troops should not be sent. Why should more British lives be lost for no reason? All we hear is the political spin for a reason for being in Iraq from Blair and his cronies.
Chris, Canada

Whether one agreed with the war or not, the fact is Coalition troops now have a moral obligation to restore security to a particularly volatile post-war Iraq. This will remain the case until such a time that an Iraqi administration is able to deal with these requirements itself. If the UK has to send in more troops in order to achieve these objectives, then so be it.
David Jack, Edinburgh, Scotland

Having spent so much energy and life in the liberation of Iraq, it is important to finish what has been started. Given the uncertainty surrounding the whereabouts and continued influence of Saddam Hussein, it is naive to believe the battle is over. A war that drags on has no clear winner or loser.
Susan Honess, Sittingbourne, Kent

I don't think you can create peace
Elisabeth, France
I don't think you can create peace. Peace is a normal process which takes place after a war when the enemy has been beaten. In this case the war has not been won... but stopped by the coalition. How can we Europeans imagine the feeling of the Iraqi people now? It will be a thousand times more difficult to build peace than to make war; let it be a lesson...
Elisabeth, France

The issue is not one of having more troops or not. The issue is one of understanding and respecting customs, traditions and norms. Not everyone is a Saddam supporter but most, if not all, will not tolerate the intrusion into homes, especially into the women's quarters. We are into a long stay in Iraq.
Arif Sayed, Dubai, UAE

The coalition should try dialogue and comprehension. Look at the French in Ivory Coast, there had been many anti-French riots but in the end there is peace, a precarious peace but peace nevertheless. I'm anti-war but now that the coalition is in Iraq, they have to do the job they are going ie bring peace stability and democracy. They can't leave while there's such a mess.
Luc, France

I think the British public should be told that this is going to be another Northern Ireland. The "war" has not ended and the "enemy" are the local population, some of whom do not want the army there.
Richard, UK in USA

We are morally obliged to provide as many troops as it takes
Frank, Cambridge, UK
We are morally obliged to provide as many troops as it takes to stabilise Iraq. Anything less would be a despicable dereliction of duty.
Frank, Cambridge, UK

You invaded Iraq to destroy WMD, which are suddenly not there. Now you're occupying a country where you don't know anything about its culture. Get your troops out of there, and for the next time, do your homework first.
Oliver, Germany

It is tragic to see American and British soldiers being sacrificed everyday in a war without a just cause. It is even worse to see us sending more troops to their possible demise as Iraqi resistance grows. The coalition forces should relinquish the enforcement role to a multi-national force that includes a strong contribution from Arab nations - countries that are genuinely interested and who better understand how to work with the Iraqi people. That of course would mean the US giving up on its "real" interest in Iraq, and actually becoming a "liberator."
Hiten, Los Angeles, USA

The UN's record in nation building is non-existent
Andy, UK
Those who think the Iraqis would welcome "UN peacekeepers" with open arms are forgetting that it was the UN which imposed punitive sanctions over a 12-year period and inflicted a heavy defeat on Iraq's forces in 1991 Gulf war. They also forget that the UN's record in nation building is non-existent. The only countries that have succeed in creating successful pluralistic democratises from the chaos of dictatorship are the UK and the US.
Andy, UK

To Andy: Were are these "pluralistic democracies" that the British have supposedly created from "colonisation"? Where are they? In Nigeria, Ghana, Somaliland?
O. Edward, New York

I'm afraid that carrying weapons has become second nature to many men in many parts of the world - and for some it is a status symbol. So taking their weapons is almost an insult to their manhood, and they will inevitably react in this appalling way. This is not a surprise to those who are familiar with the region.
Ian, Luxembourg

Britain must go to the UN, organise a 'peace-keeping' operation, and then withdraw
Tony McNamara, Perth, Australia
Becoming engaged in Iraq was an immense strategic error on Britain's part. To fail to see that Iran would gain the most from the effective destruction of Iraq was the strategic error. Britain must in its very own interest go to the UN, organise a 'peace-keeping' operation, and then withdraw. If the US blocks this move then withdraw anyway. The alternative would be a very long period of engagement with high cost in money and in British lives with no guarantee of stability or of strategic security. Be brave, Mr Blair; go to the UN and ask for a peace-keeping force and then withdraw.
Tony McNamara, Perth, Australia

There are very few things that would secure peace in Iraq, but I do feel that the British involvement there has been more welcome than that of the US. This is partly due to the socio-political area in which they are mainly deployed, but it is because of their slightly less gung-ho and more diplomatic approach to the people. Perhaps a British-led peace process would bear more benefit. But would the pride or the underlying motives of the US administration allow that?
George Caveney, Exeter, UK

If we really are intent on bringing peace and freedom to Iraq, as our leaders claim, then no matter how many troops we send, we cannot ignore that restoring electricity and water supplies, bringing in food and medicine and establishing representative democracy are more important than getting the oil pumping again.
Alan, London

The idea of any country sending any more troops frightens me. Order must be restored, but too many troops can only be viewed as occupation, therefore raising the level of hostility.
Shawn Hampton, Eugene, OR, USA

British troops should be pulled out of Iraq
Andrew Cover, UK
No. British troops should be pulled out of Iraq. They've done their job and the people there would rather they weren't there. Why should our troops take any further part in this American adventure that could become another Northern Ireland or perhaps worse? This is going to be a dreadful drain on lives and resources.
Andrew Cover, UK

I remember reading how British soldiers had "won the hearts and minds" of the Iraqi's in the south and how the Americans should take a cue and do likewise. It is sad to see that the British soldiers were lulled into a false sense of security. More troops? Perhaps more caution is in order. Why risk any more lives than necessary?
Jim DeSantis, Erie, PS, USA

Britain should do everything necessary to safeguard the interests of its armed forces
Mahesh Chandra Somani, Oulu, Finland
The UK troops should always be present in full force, irrespective of the urgency and length of this strategically critical military operation. Definitely this is not the right time to debate on the issue concerning the authenticity of the war or the disappearance of the WMD, if any. In the aftermath of the major combat against the Baathist government of Saddam Hussein, a few guerrilla style attacks in some pockets of this vast country are not unanticipated. However, it is essential that such attacks are neutralised and countered with full force. Britain should do everything necessary to safeguard the interests of its armed forces operating in Iraq.
Mahesh Chandra Somani, Oulu, Finland

Both Britain and USA should organise a free and fair election and then retire from Iraq as soon as possible, and certainly not send more troops into a quagmire.
John Walton, Seattle, USA

The dynamics of the situation are such that there is little or no chance to achieve peace with troop presence, at least not with UK or US troops in Iraq. Too much bad blood already accumulated. Any even comparatively minor incident can light the powder keg. My advice would be to get out now and save face rather than stay and have to withdraw after heavy losses in a year or so. Vietnam, although not a specifically British experience, should have taught military planners something.
Josef, Rome, Italy

Get the troops out or it will be our Vietnam
Colin Hewitt, Morecambe
As a ex-military policeman who left the service two years ago after serving 23 yrs with the Military Police (MP) I am appalled to read that the MPs where left in a volatile situation for two hours without backup. Far too often the military police are placed in the front line without the firepower to deal with this type of situation. Section of six MPs is no match for the mob that they faced. The Paras are a fighting force and should have gone in with the MPs and may be this would not have happened. This soft approached may have worked in other situations but not Iraq. Tony Blair wake up and get the troops out or it will be our Vietnam.
Colin Hewitt, Morecambe

Let me get this straight, the anti-war mob says that there should be more troops in one country - Afghanistan - yet at the same time demand that all forces withdraw from Iraq!?
Colin Keesee, USA

Anyone wishing to occupy someone else's country, for whatever reason, must be prepared to lose his/her life. And anyone who sends somebody else's loved ones to do a job they themselves refused to the do when it was their chance should be derided and ridiculed as the chicken hawks they are.
Lobo, Miami, Florida USA

Pull out. The US and UK should pull out and leave Iraq to pick up the pieces. See how long it is until they turn to us for help... with funds, equipment, training... We are there for their security and if they react in this way, why stay?
James, Staffordshire, England

These people are trying to resist & eject and occupying military force
L.M., Labelle, USA
Here's a straightforward question for the average American or Brit... what would you do if armed Iraqi soldiers forced their way into your town and into your home? These people are doing what most people would, they are trying to resist and eject and occupying military force. We call them terrorists or murderers. If happened on British or American soil we would call them heroes.
L.M., Labelle, USA

All US and British troops should leave Iraq now!!!! You are not welcome!! But then again your troops have not been welcome in my country for over 800 years and you still have not got the hint, will Iraq have to suffer the same misfortune?
John, Ireland

The colonial armies of USA and UK are going to be under fire more and more by the Iraqi civilians, so are the soldiers going to commit genocide to defend themselves?
Mary Briseño, Santander, Spain

This could possibly be Saddam's way of fighting the US/UK by tying down thousands of troops for years by occasional sniping and making a strategic withdrawal more and more difficult.
Michael Singleton, Waterlooville, UK

The real tragedy is that the British and Americans care not the slightest bit when it comes to the death and the sufferings of the people they 'liberate'. How would the British population have reacted to invading Germans in 1940 had Operation Sea Lion been put into action?
Emre Kose, Istanbul, Turkey

Did the Iraqi civilians provoke their own murder?
Andrew Jenkins, Teversal, Notts, England
If the deaths of five British occupying troops in Iraq are the result of 'unprovoked murder', what about the deaths of over five thousand Iraqi civilian men women and children so far from British and American bombs and shells? Did these people provoke their own murder?
Andrew Jenkins, Teversal, Notts, England

I think that the UK and US should put the Germans and French under pressure to send in their own troops, or take over the full force in Afghanistan.
Christian A. Hehn, Hanover

Don't you realise people in Iraq see you and Americans as colonialist aliens? It doesn't matter what you think or do, nobody is going to change that impression and the killings and violence is going to grow and grow.
Jose Rodriguez, Veracruz, Mexico

It's advisable for the British Government to send more troops to Iraq to wipe out the last footprint of Saddam Hussein.
Blessing Naduagwu, Nigeria

Sending more troops would be like trying to put off a fire with gasoline. The problem is too many foreign troops in Iraq, not too few.
M. Korpela, Turku, Finland

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of being there, we do not have enough frontline troops to send. The British armed forces are already overstretched and have admitted that they could not mount another operation of any scale for one or two years.
Bruce Bettridge, St. Albans

Now more than ever coalition troops are needed in Iraq
Bruno Condotta, Traviso, Italy
I think the UK should boost its presence slightly, but tactically (in patrol and support, rather than military police) and heighten its vigilance, while maintaining its attitude which is distinct and friendlier than that of the US troops. But we should insist that troops from other countries like Italy, Spain and Poland (as well as Bulgaria and Romania) are sent to Iraq too. Now more than ever coalition troops are needed in Iraq; if they were to withdraw there would be hopeless anarchy in Iraq for years to come.
Bruno Condotta, Traviso, Italy

Fantastic idea. Worked really well in N. Ireland! These people don't want British troops in their country at all. Why does the government believe that reinforcements are going to make any difference? When is this country going to learn from its own previous errors of judgement? I suppose they'll start calling the Iraqi people terrorists next.
P. Nichols, London

Sending in more troops will solve nothing
Matt Gower, London, UK
It's a tragedy. But should we really be surprised? We should be studying the best way to get out of this mess we've created - sending in more troops will solve nothing.
Matt Gower, London, UK

I doubt if sending more troops would improve the situation. Why not do the same as in Afghanistan; leave and do nothing and let everything return to the status quo. Only 20% of the cash promised has arrived, few people have water, electricity or gas in Kabul. The Taleban are back in control in the south-western area. Cut our losses and get out now!
H.Mactaggart, Stourbridge, UK

We should ignore the whining of the anti-war brigade
Robert Thomson, Sheffield, UK
We need to ensure there are the right numbers of UK soldiers in Iraq to keep casualties to a minimum. We should ignore the whining of the anti war brigade. After the Second World War, we stationed thousands of soldiers in Germany; and can anyone argue West Germany was not a success? Give our boys time to establish peace and democracy in Iraq - it will not happen in months!
Robert Thomson, Sheffield, UK

No! The US and UK should get out of Iraq and let the aid agencies help rebuild the place with US/UK money. Leave the oil for the locals and let it continue to be sold in Euros (let's see how magnanimous the US can be). It's time to forgive, time to share, and time to trust and to hope.
Angela Gelston, Lancaster, UK

Quite the opposite; more soldiers should be withdrawn. Let's be honest, despite all the talk about this being a war of liberation, it is fast turning into a war of occupation. The Iraqi people are quite clearly not happy with the methods being employed and no longer wish any foreign troops there, so bring them home.
Jeremy Cedenio, UK

The people attacking British and American troops are clearly not just disgruntled villagers
Chris, US
There clearly needs to be more stability introduced to Iraq. Those advocating pulling out are merely hoping for the best, but blind to the dangers. The people attacking British and American troops are clearly not just disgruntled villagers. They are remnants of Saddam's army, coupled with religion-motivated militants, and possibly outsiders from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries which are anti-American and anti-West. It is folly to consider withdrawing our troops, for Iraq will descend into a hotbed of fundamentalism and revenge killings. We pulled the rug out from under the Shiites in the early 90s, and removing our troops now will lead to an even bigger bloodbath. The Iraqi people deserve better.
Chris, US

Both my husband and I believe that sending more U.K. troops would make the tenuous situation even worse. Both the UK and the US, because of their perceived role as invaders and occupiers, are the wrong people to maintain peace and rebuild Iraq. A UN peacekeeping force would be a good idea. We can gain valuable lessons by looking at what happened in Vietnam.
Patricia van der Veer, Merseyside (formerly Canada & US)

We don't want to see any more bloodshed so get our troops out
Sandy, Exeter
Troop reinforcements will not create peace. The Iraqi people don't appreciate the help and protection our troops give otherwise they would cooperate towards trying to get their country back to some normality. We don't want to see any more bloodshed so get our troops out and leave it to the Americans!
Sandy, Exeter

My deep condolences to the families of the killed soldiers. My view on the deployment of more troops is that the coalition forces in Iraq, in my imaginary mind, should "search and destroy" Iraq's heavy weapons and WMD and then gradually downsize the troops and let the UN forces in. I believe that Iraq should pay, over a certain period, all costs of the coalition's deployment.
Boris, Zagreb, Croatia

How about asking the Iraqi people whether they would tolerate UN or other peacekeepers replacing coalition forces? It would be an inclusive exercise for the fledgling "democracy" and give the coalition a way out.
Adam, Wales

Its high time UK troops withdrew from Iraq and allow United Nations peacekeeping forces to take over their role.
Ayo Awoyele, London, England

I think it's time we did treat Iraq as an occupied country and should remove all weapons from the entire population. Those wishing to keep their weapons should be deemed as the enemy and dealt with accordingly. Since when do we wage a war on an enemy and after defeating them, allow them to keep their weapons? What Rhodes Scholar came up with that idea?
James M, USA

British troops should withdraw and the UN should become involved
Andrew, Belfast, N Ireland
Yes, I think more troops are necessary to create peace. I think British troops should withdraw and the United Nations should become involved. I think British security tactics should be reviewed and a tougher approach taken. This country is as unstable and unsafe as Northern Ireland was during the height of the troubles where the army and police took a tough approach by travelling in armoured vehicles and always wearing their helmets and body armour.
Andrew, Belfast, N Ireland

Sending more troops to Iraq will only reinforce the Iraqi belief that these foreign armies are here to stay particularly the British, who have a past record of colonialism. How long have they been in Germany and what's the reason they are there now that there is no longer any threat from the Russians?
Thomas Lowry, UK

The Iraqi people have made it quite clear that this occupation of their country is unwanted. The people are fighting back (not just Saddam loyalists as the propaganda-fed media would have us believe)and it's only going to get messier the longer they stay. With talk of US/UK troops being stationed there for up to 6 years, I can only see this situation getting worse.
David, Glasgow, Scotland

This will prove to be a running sore
John, UK
We need to ask why the troops are there. What military objectives do they have? Only then can we say if more equals better. It may be that these objectives can be better achieved by withdrawal, and by letting UN troops from a neutral nation ensure the transition to a post-Saddam government. This will prove to be a running sore, just like Ulster during the 1970s and 80s, and the longer we're there, under a dishonest and shameful pretext, the worse it will get.
John, UK

Yes, we needed double the troops from the start. I supported the reasons for war and am delighted that Saddam has gone but there were never anywhere near enough to restore law and order and infrastructure whilst maintaining security.
David Massingham, England

I think the role of the army has changed from aggressive to defensive; it's clear wider skills are needed in the community now
Hom James W Murray, UK
Sending more troops to Iraq will only help if they are UN peacekeepers, or some other internationally sanctioned force. While the coalition remains, they will be seen as occupiers enforcing their will on the very people they claimed to have liberated - controllers, not reformers nor rebuilders.

The coalition did its job of removing Saddam (rightly or wrongly); now it is time to put a force into place which can help Iraqi people rebuild their own country, as they want it, with control over their own resources. Until that happens, aggrieved Iraqis are going to keep taking pot-shots at the coalition.
John Bown, UK

I think the more troops you send in the more angry the Iraqi people will become. They don't want us there. It is time to get out and let them take care of themselves. Before they kill more of our troops
Bob, US

What else can an occupying force expect from occupied masses?
Nina, Canada

Someone please tell me again, why are we in Iraq? To liberate the Iraqis? Because we certainly are not there for any real threat or imaginary, so sending more troops will not liberate Iraq, it will create more chaos for Iraqis as well as the troops.

In the meantime Bush and company once again (as pre-war) cannot find Iraq on the map. What a great world they have created for us and we have helped them with our silent compliance.
Melina Pavlakou, US/Greece

The message is clear. Get out, stay out and most importantly, don't come back! Thank you
Ahmad Azizi, Iraq
I think the role of the army has changed from aggressive to defensive; it's clear wider skills are needed in the community now. Certainly the UN, the Commonwealth and ASEAN groups might help, less sure about the EC. But if more troops will work in Iraq, then surely Palestine could do with some horror show neutral peace-makers?
Hom James W Murray, UK

The message is clear. Get out, stay out and most importantly, don't come back! Thank you.
Ahmad Azizi, Iraq

I imagine we'll get out and stay out as soon as we feel the country is stable and secure and the Iraqi people able to look after themselves after such a long period under repression. Would Ahmad Azizi like us out so that Saddam Hussein's supporters can make a comeback, because guaranteed that's what they'll try to do?
Debbie, UK

I don't believe the involvement of more troops will help whatsoever; in fact, it could make as bad situation even worse. And involving the international community won't, I don't think, make any difference. I am one rightly or wrongly who thinks that we shouldn't have gone in in the first place.
Michael, Canada

Bush and Blair got us into this fine mess with their "Bright Shining Lie" and it is indeed looking more and more like Vietnam every day. Although Saddam's removal is welcome, we should never have gone in. The Iraqis clearly don't want us in and the situation will only get worse if we stay.

The US in particular is not going to rebuild Iraq for the benefit of the Iraqis. On the contrary, the US is clearly going to dictate who runs any future Iraqi government and they are only interested in exploiting Iraq for US commercial, strategic and military interests.

We need to clearly recognise that - the Iraqis already do! We Brits need to get out as fast as we can, let the US handle the mess which they have created. We must not be sucked in any further. Staying as an occupying force is a no-win situation. Haven't we learned that from our colonial days in the Middle East?
Christopher Palmer, Brit in US

You wanted war, you have it. Now clear it up and make sure the women have freedom. Then and only then get out.
Barb Poupart, Canada

Chirac's warning was: "Unforeseen consequences". What should be the term for "Iraq" plus "quagmire"? Iraqmire? Qiraqmire? Of course Britain will send more troops. To extract Britain from this great mess will be the difficult chore of the PM who succeeds Blair.
Ian Sadler, Canada

What about sending peacekeeping troops from other Arab countries such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan while removing Western forces such as the US and UK?
Dan M, Canada
Troops are like a weight on a pressure cooker. If you have enough you will hold back the tension. Before you remove the weight you need to reduce the heat and let the pan cool down - this takes time and careful handling. To take the heat out of Iraq we need to reintroduce public amenities and social services, assist in the establishment of a democratic government, ensure that law and order is restored and welcome Iraq back to the international community through diplomatic and trade initiatives.
Duncan, US

My heartfelt condolences to the families who lost loved ones. On the question of more troops, it is already clear that the soldiers killed thus far have died defending us from a non-existent threat. The prime minister made it clear he was willing to leave the regime in place if Iraq "disarmed". How can he now reasonably expect us, the British public, to support more of our young men and women to be put in harm's way? Our forces are already clearly overstretched and involvement of the international community now is probably far too late. I'm not a defeatist by nature, but I fear for the future of our troops and of Iraq.
Govind Sri Ram, London

What about sending peacekeeping troops from other Arab countries such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan while removing Western forces such as the US and UK? It only makes sense to me.
Dan M, Canada


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