Saturday, June 23, 2007

Flower power

Until they were shuffled out the door, most military leaders were of the opinion that the latest "surge" of US troops into Iraq would be, at best, ineffective. The roughly imagined 30,000 troops would be simply insufficient for the job. These opinions were ignored, of course, in favour of neocon yowlers who demanded the surge and blitzed the media with flopping jowls about how great it would all work out. American Enterprise Institute installations like Bill Kristol and Fred Kagan were all part of this assault, on air and in print claiming, with no known expertise to do so, that the surge was necessary if America were to win in Iraq. Winning is what these guys are all about. These were some of the same folks who had told us what a cakewalk the entire Iraq adventure would be and that flowers would shower American GIs.

And just like the flower shower, the surge is not quite working out as advertised, as violence continues to escalate and the Green Zone is being systematically targeted with daily mortar attacks by the insurgency. As before the operation began, actual military people are again saying that the surge is not and cannot work. The force size is simply not big enough.
Retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who in 2003 was among the first to call public attention to the relatively small size of the U.S. invasion force, said that the new operation shows how outnumbered U.S. troops remain. "Why would we think that a temporary presence of 30,000 additional combat troops in a giant city would change the dynamics of a bitter civil war?" he said in an interview yesterday. "It's a fool's errand."
Other military there now are of the same opinion:
An officer working in Arrowhead Ripper, the subsidiary offensive in Diyala province, said wearily, "We just do not have the forces in country right now to have the appropriate level of presence across the country."
Experts in counterinsurgency are also weighing in:
Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., the director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a national security think tank, said flatly that Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, does not have enough troops.
But somewhat buried in the WaPo story is a brief but telling passage about who is really running the show and why, once again, the situation in Iraq is as intractable as ever. Fred Kagan of the AEI,
was involved in developing the plans for the recent troop increase....
That ought to tell us all we need to know about the viability of the surge. If Kagan was involved, it must be wrong. And no doubt, after reading about this prick, you have to know that Dick Cheney's cockeyed, evil smirk is in there somewhere.


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