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No, the surge is not a success.

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Big Dakota, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. Big Dakota

    Big Dakota New Member

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    Defining Victory Downward

    No, the surge is not a success.

    By Michael Kinsley
    Posted Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008, at 2:59 PM ET
    [IMG]U.S. soldiers in Iraq
    Why was President Bush's decision a year ago to send another 30,000 troops to Iraq called the "surge"? I don't know who invented this label, but the word surge evokes images of the sea: a wave that sweeps in, and then sweeps back out again. The second part was crucial. What made the surge different from your ordinary troop deployment was that it was temporary. In fact, the surge was presented as part of a larger plan for troop withdrawal. It was also, implicitly, part of a deal between Bush and the majority of Americans who want out. The deal was: Just let me have a few more soldiers to get Baghdad under control, and then everybody, or almost everybody, can pack up and come home.
    In other words: You have to increase the troops in order to reduce them. This is so perverse on its face that it begins to sound zenlike and brilliant, like something out of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. And in Gen. David Petraeus, the administration conjured up its own Sun Tzu, a brilliant military strategist.
    It is now widely considered beyond dispute that Bush has won his gamble. The surge is a terrific success. Choose your metric: attacks on American soldiers, car bombs, civilian deaths, potholes. They're all down, down, down. Lattes sold by street vendors are up. Performances of Shakespeare by local repertory companies have tripled. Skepticism seems like sour grapes. If you opposed the surge, you have two choices. One is to admit that you were wrong, wrong, wrong. The other is to sound as if you resent all the good news and remain eager for disaster. Too many opponents of the war have chosen option No. 2.

    But we needn't quarrel about all this, or deny the reality of the good news, to say that the surge has not worked yet. The test is simple, and built into the concept of a surge: Has it allowed us to reduce troop levels to below where they were when it started? The answer is no.
    In fact, President Bush laid down the standard of success when he announced the surge more than a year ago: "If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home." At the time, there were about 130,000 American soldiers in Iraq. Bush proposed to add up to 20,000 more troops. Although Bush never made any official promises about a timetable, the surge was generally described as lasting six to eight months.
    By last summer, the surge had actually added closer to 30,000 troops, making the total American troop count about 160,000. Today, there are still more than 150,000 American troops in Iraq. The official plan has been to get that number back down to 130,000 by July and then to keep going so that there would be about 100,000 American troops in Iraq by the time Bush leaves office. Lately, though, Gen. Petraeus has come up with another zenlike idea: He calls it a "pause." And the administration has signed on, meaning that the total number of American troops in Iraq will remain at 130,000 for an undetermined period.
    So, the best that we can hope for, in terms of American troops risking their lives in Iraq, is that there will be just as many next July—and probably next January, when time runs out—as there were a year ago. The surge will have surged in and surged out, leaving us back where we started. Maybe the situation in Baghdad, or the whole country, will have improved. But apparently it won't have improved enough to risk an actual reduction in the American troop commitment.
    And consider how modest the administration's standard of success has become. Can there be any doubt that they would go for a reduction to 100,000 troops—and claim victory—if they had any confidence at all that the gains they brag about would hold at that level of support? The proper comparison isn't to the situation a year ago. It's to the situation before we got there. Imagine that you had been told in 2003 that when George W. Bush finished his second term, dozens of American soldiers and hundreds of Iraqis would be dying violently every month; that a major American goal would be getting the Iraqi government to temper its "de-Baathification" campaign so that Saddam Hussein's former henchmen could start running things again (because they know how); and "only" 100,000 American troops would be needed to sustain this equilibrium. You might have several words to describe this situation, but success would not be one of them.
  2. Danny White

    Danny White Winter is Coming

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    Kinsley is basing his analysis on one factor and one factor alone:

    Is that really what we're basing success on? How quickly our troops are withdrawn? I guess for Kinsley and his ilk, that's all that matters.

    Honestly, I'm not wild about the whole democracy building exercise that this administration is engaging in, myself.

    But I think it's silly to say the surge is failing when your only criteria for judging it is troop withdrawal. By most other objective evaluations, the surge has been a modest success.

    He's basically saying "the surge isn't working because what I want to happen isn't happening."
  3. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Wow ..... we must not have been Victorious in Germany or Japan .... we had troops in both those places 50 years after the war.
  4. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Yes but they were not actively fighting in the streets.:cool:
  5. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    You could also judge it by having the Iraqi Government and Military doing their jobs and taken over without needing our help as much. I think they get a big F for that but that is not our troops fault at all.

    That it what irks me about the situation. We put our soldiers lives at risk waiting for these guys to get their act together. Sooner or later we will have to say stand up on your own or we will let you fall down on your own.
  6. Vintage

    Vintage The Cult of Jib

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    Or Korea, although, technically, that is still an ongoing conflict, so perhaps we shouldn't consider that a victory.


    However, remaining in Japan.... it would be nice if some of our troops would, you know, stop raping Japanese women over there.
  7. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    You think all our troops Rape women over there? You do not think this is a case of one guy being a piece of crap (if he did it)?

    Wow ..... love your opinion of the men who keep you free.
  8. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    You do not think there was attacks on our military 5 years after WW2 in Japan and Germany?

    Well they did not have internet and instant news back then. :cool:
  9. Danny White

    Danny White Winter is Coming

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    I agree with you on that 100%.

    I think we either shamefully underestimated transition times, or didn't have a fully-baked transition plan to begin with.

    I don't know where exactly the blame lies for this. Some certainly with the administration, certainly some with Iraqis who convinced our brain trust that once Saddam was gone the new government would fall into place. And probably some blame with the American people who tend to lose interest in a cause and grow impatient when everything doesn't work out perfectly.

    I, too, am weary of this whole thing. But at this point in the operation, I don't think it's wise to withdraw simply for withdrawal's sake as Kinsley, Obama and others suggest.
  10. Vintage

    Vintage The Cult of Jib

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    I said some. Re-read. Some does not equal all.

    And my point of that is, keeping troops abroad, does also have negative consequences. As seen with us keeping troops in Japan...
  11. Vintage

    Vintage The Cult of Jib

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    Yeah, they still had to "fight" Nazis. There were some still some holed up, fighting/attacking US soldiers over there after the war had already been won.
  12. NewJCowboy

    NewJCowboy Active Member

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    I think we should send all the people who support this war to Iraq and let them fight.
  13. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    then the question becomes, how many years were they fighting in the streets and was it easier and less time consuming to fight a war where people played more or less by the rules and the enemy was kind enough to wear a uniform and be an obvious enemy vs. not knowing who the enemy is?

    yes, i'm tired and frustrated also and do believe that clear goals need to be set for succes or spelled out for failure and get a move on. if iraq wants to stand up, stand up. if not, let them do what they will and at least they'll focus on that for a decade or so while we wean from oil and remove the mid-east power by doing so.
  14. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    I was in Somalia and Kuwait

    Where did you serve your Country at?
  15. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    to be honest, in the roman times it was necessary to keep troops abroad.

    why do we do it now? having a base in the phillipenes does what? japan? elsewhere? if no one was there, how less secure would we be?
  16. NewJCowboy

    NewJCowboy Active Member

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    I served in Saudi Arabia as apart of Operation Southern Watch in the mid 90's. I served 4 years in the Air Force and an additional 2 years in the reserves.

    All of you guys that support this "war" need to go to Iraq and fight.
  17. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

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    Been there, done that, will probably go back there again, have you?
  18. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    I would never tell a Veteran that he needs to go back ..... but then again I have actually been in battle.
  19. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

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    10th mountain or Rangers Batt?
  20. NewJCowboy

    NewJCowboy Active Member

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    Why wouldn't you tell a veteran to go back? Isn't that what they're doing now? Aren't a lot of our troops on their 4th and 5th tours in Iraq?

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