By Editor-in-chief
updated 12/5/2006 11:11:12 AM ET 2006-12-05T16:11:12

You’re the president of the United States. The telephone rings in the Oval Office and it’s your Secretary of Defense. What do you tell him or her to do about Iraq?

If you’re like many of the folks playing this scenario at HOTSOUP.com, you likely won’t order an immediate retreat – or even a politically calibrated withdrawal along the lines of what the Baker Commission is cooking up for the nation on Wednesday. You’ll get creative, and consider some politically risky solutions. You might even be more of a hawk than you want President Bush to be; after all, you trust your judgment more than anybody’s in Washington.

  • “Denno” would concentrate on Baghdad and his plan to draw insurgents into the open. “At the proper time, we counter attack and kill all we can, and then withdraw again. This type of action puts us in the position of being the ‘guerillas,’ and we repeat this whenever they attempt a setup of government. We do not look for a ‘victory,’ but achieve a stalemate, where the enemy can’t accomplish their goals either.”
  • “Badger38” would not mess around. “The (Defense Secretary) says he has the plan I want and it should work, but I need to add 100,000 troops to get the job done in one year.” He would institute the draft and while launching a diplomatic blitz that might make his war plans moot. “This is definitely a different kind of war, but the reorganization and action after the Battle of the Bulge was far tougher and accomplished in under two months.”
  • Another HOTSOUP hawk, Richard Loutzen, said he would find the additional 100,000 troops by drawing from the 45 percent of the military that has not taken a tour in Iraq. “Share the load.”
  • Bill Camp, 33, of Virginia Beach, Va., would pull troops out of Iraqi cities, secure the borders “and let the civil war take its course.”
  • Ian Broverman of suburban Maryland would appoint a director of security who would be held accountable for Iraq. While training and rebuilding is under way, he would open negotiations with all factions and invite every Middle East country to participate.
  • “AJH” would order his secretary of state to make ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top priority seeking partners in the Arab world who would send troops to Iraq.
  • Patrick Nichols, 61, of Hopwood, Pa., imagines his defense secretary, Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, warning that White House plans for a decisive offensive on Baghdad with 120,000 troops would result in massive casualties. “That’s a chance I’m willing to take to get our boys home by Sept. 30th, 2007,” President Nichols replies. “So let’s get the ball rolling.”

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