Are More U.S. Troops Needed in Iraq?
By Suzanne Freeman

The UN Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, after a truck carrying explosives smashed into it. Seventeen UN workers were killed and more than a hundred people were injured. (Photo: AP Wide World)

More money and troops are needed to keep Iraq safe and on the road to democracy, say several top U.S. Senators. Continued attacks against soldiers in Iraq led Senators from both the Republican and Democratic parties to call for more troops. Currently the U.S. has 139,000 troops in Iraq. More than 137 soldiers were killed during the four months after the war was declared over.

The U.S. needs another division, or 17,000 troops, said Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona. McCain was in Baghdad on a fact-finding trip when the UN Headquarters was bombed. At least 23 people were killed, including the top UN official.

Democrat Joseph Biden of Delaware puts the need at 40,000 to 60,000 more troops. He also says at least another $100 billion is needed to stabilize the country. Much of Iraq is still without water or electricity.

So far, the Bush administration disagrees. While they say that the number of American forces are sufficient, they do call for an increase in international troops. Negotiations began in August over a UN resolution to increase the international governing body's participation. While the U.S. wants more UN help, officials are not ready to give up authority within Iraq.

The U.S. will have to share decisions and responsibilities—as well as its burdens—with the UN before an agreement can be reached, said Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Many countries are reluctant to send more troops because they fear a prolonged guerrilla war. Guerrillas are unofficial fighters who launch surprise attacks against the official military.

"People feel Iraq is a mess that could still go either way," Radwan Masmoudi, president of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington told a reporter. "That explains to a great extent the reluctance to send soldiers.

What do you think? Should the U.S. send more troops to Iraq? To voice your opinion, click here.