Thursday, September 13, 2007

Some Surge thoughts

Gen. David Petreaus reported on the progress of 'The Surge' to Congress a few days back, and I've got three observations ...

- One of the more curious things to consider is how effective 'The Surge' has been in stamping down violence. To be sure, some parts of the country are feeling the benefits of an increased American military presence (whether or not that will remain after a drawdown in forces remains to be seen), but I think it's not clear that 'The Surge' has brought about the reduction of violence in Anbar as some claim. In that province, you see new partnerships emerging between the U.S. forces and non-AQI groups. However there are two ways to view this that don't involve 'The Surge.' One is that any sort of partnership is something that isn't dependent on a large number of U.S. forces being on the ground, but rather the empowerment of the non-AQI forces (who, by the by, aren't exactly chummy with us anyway). The other way of looking at this is to understand that AQI was only responsible for a small fraction of the violence and that by engaging and, well, paying some insurgent groups to stop attacking us, we've been able to reduce the attacks. Either way, both are seem to be viable solutions that don't require a large number of U.S. forces (the latter would even suggest the fewer forces the better).

- I think Matthew Yglesias is right on this one. According to Petraeus's report, the number of crucial Iraqi divisions - fully independent, Iraqi-led with coalition support, fighting side-by-side - has remained stagnant since April 2006, something which predates 'The Surge.' The only thing that has changed, and only marginally, is the number of 'units forming' ... which is a fairly nebulous category, is it not? Granted it's a step in the right direction, but we're not seeing any real progress on this front, nor can we assume it is the result of this policy.

- A bunch has been made over the ad by MoveOn, and there rightfully should be a fuss over it. It was stupid, childish and ignorant and amounted to nothing less than an attempt to smear Petreaus. MoveOn should be ashamed, and this just cements why that group always kinda bothered me in the first place. I'm glad that some folks called them out on it. Let me also point out that lots of this righteous chest-thumping and holier-than-thou attitude from some conservatives is rather pathetic. Lest we forget that conservatives were calling Sen. Chuck Hagel the exact same thing just a few months ago ... and, of course, that was OK.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question is, after Bush's escalation (whether it "works" or not), then what? From what i understand, the White House is hinting that the occupation is going to be permanent. Do I not remember that they vehemently denied this just 6 to 9 months ago? So, all of this is just going through the motions....

After this, then what? How long do we sit there???

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in seeing the quote (s) that referred to Sen Hagel as a traitor.

I know many Republicans disagree with his policy proposals--I'm one--but I haven't seen the word "betrayal" used in connection with Hagel.

Perhaps I've missed it.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Jmac said...

That link goes to Free Republic, which is a Republican blog, albeit an extreme one. According to the post, it was said by a caller to Rush Limbaugh, who said he liked it and repeated it.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between partisans calling politicians names and military personnel being thrown under the bus.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Jmac said...

Really? Wow.

That is a mighty big qualifier my friend.

I'm content in saying both are rather despicable, particularly since Hagel is a decorated Vietnam veteran.

Also keep in mind both criticisms came from partisans in and Rush Limbaugh.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Jmac said...

And, of course, stupid statements by irrelevant partisans is obviously more important than constructive debate over policy.

11:11 AM  
Blogger hillary said...

Isn't the question why MoveOn would consider Petraeus on their side to begin with? How can someone betray you unless you trusted him/her initially?

1:42 PM  

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