Give troops full support

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A national news agency reported Wednesday that the government of Iraq announced their soldiers would take over security for the country by the end of the year.

This announcement came on a day when more than 170 people were reported killed in bombings around Baghdad.

And the Associated Press reported that U.S. officials announced that last week they found 3,000 gallons of nitric acid hidden in a warehouse in downtown Baghdad.

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U.S. forces discovered the acid, a key fertilizer component that can also be used in explosives, during a routine search last Thursday, according to AP.

Still, it’s welcome news that Iraqi forces will take the lead in their country’s security. And these recent events indicate the threat from insurgents that continues to hang over that country.

Unfortunately, the announcement has not changed the Pentagon’s recent decision to extend Army combat in Afghanistan and Iraq to 15 months or the request by the Bush Administration for more troops in Iraq.

Our ground forces are under increased stress from the insurgency.

Extending tours of duty from 12 months to 15 months will certainly not decrease this stress.

Congress must move to increase the permanent force so that extended tours of duty will not be necessary (the National Guard, Army Reserve and Marine Corps have not been impacted by the extended tours).

No one wants our troops to be in Iraq any longer than necessary. But, as long as we are there, we should make sure our troops are not overextended and have all the support they need.