Has the surge failed already?

Max Boot relates facts contained in a letter from an officer serving in Iraq, facts that may not be welcomed by Copperhead Democratic defeatists and the Republican geldings allied with them.

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One Response to Has the surge failed already?

  1. Paul Strauss says:

    The point to remember is that the surge was the surge was sold to us Americans as a short-term strategy. (It’s a tactic, not a strategy, but let that rest.) To repeat, the surge was stated to be a short-term approach, giving the Iraqis time to get their act together.
    If Bush now wants the surge to last for another year or two, then obviously he mislead us on the short-term aspect. Granted that there is to be a review by Petreus in September, but that does not diminish the fact that the surge was said to be short-term.
    If Petreus’s report in September were to say that everything was going WONDERFULLY, that would merely be evidence that the short-term strategy had worked and should be ended BECAUSE of its success.
    Success or failure, it was always supposed to be short term. If Bush had said, “I intend to send another 30,000 troops and keep them in Baghdad until the next president takes over,” that would have been a medium term or long-term approach, and if Americans had agreed to that, then there would be no debate now.
    In fact, if we are even to diminish troops by the surge’s 30,000 in a year from now, we have to begin planning right away. The only case in which we do not have to begin planning to reduce troops about a year before the reduction, is to plan to keep them there forever. (Staying forever may make us feel good, but it is hardly an efficient way to run the US military. The troops and equipment simply have to be rested in order to be ready in case of any other crisis.)
    To be sure, there have been signs of success, but these are only short-term indicators. For example, your correspondent in Iraq cites these facts: Deaths caused by sectarian violence in Iraq are down 75 percent from January to June and VBIED’s [vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices]/Suicide attacks cut in half from March to June; VBIED’s at lowest level since August 2006.
    Yes, this was expected to happen. But in guerrilla wars insurgents know very well that there are times to attack and times to wait. They could simply be waiting, and they can wait an awfully long time. When the opportunity arises, the sectarian violence is likely to arise again, unless we stay there forever. Thus, the surge was intended to buy time for the Iraqis to settle their differences. It was never intended to prevent sectarian violence forever. And the Iraqis are wasting that opportunity.
    That doesn’t mean that we should leave Iraq. But it does mean that we should concentrate on the threat to America, which is the al Queda forces. As reported, this is showing good results, Attacks in Al Anbar cut by 80 percent since February, – Tribes are rejecting Al Qaeda in Al Anbar, Salah Ad Din, Ninewa, Diyala – AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] is on the defensive and slowly dying—BUT WE NEED TIME TO FINISH THE JOB or they will recover.
    This is what we should be concentrating on, not on patrolling the streets of Baghdad, where our troops become excellent targets for snipers and IEDs, and trying to keep the Shites and Sunni from killing each other. If, as your correspondent says, there has been some sign that Iraqis are diminishing their attacks on each other, that’s great and therefore we no longer need to prevent those attacks, and if not, if the sectarian violence is likely to return after the surge, well that is an Iraqi matter. Surge against terrorists, not against civil war.

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