Monday, January 08, 2007

The "surge"

Loyal TPV readers may remember that, a few months ago, I proposed an "up and out" strategy in Iraq, i.e., that we temporarily "up" the number of troops in Iraq and then get "out" after we had done so (by withdrawing to Kurdistan). As everyone knows by now, President Bush has adopted a version of the "up" idea and will propose sending an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq.

Let me play armchair general for a moment (it will be brief): I have a tough time understanding how this "surge" -- aka escalation -- will do anything to stem the violence in Baghdad or elsewhere. Nor has anyone adequately explained to me why I'm wrong to be skeptical.

On the other hand, I completely understand the surge politically: Bush will again try to force a wedge between Democratic hawks and doves, and it bears the appearances of a new strategy. It isn't, of course, but that doesn't matter to this President.


Blogger John said...

Bush's best strategies are reserved for warring with the Dems in congress. Joy.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Politics is part of every presidential decision in every administration, but I don’t see it as the determining factor now.

The degree to which Bush feels he is on a divine mission is unknown, but everything has been wagered on this war. To lose is not just a failure of policy; to fail means that he has misunderstood the nature of reality.

His view is essentially religious and in that view “failure” can result only from lack of faith. He MUST keep the faith or he is forced to confront existential chaos. Like Hitler in the bunker or a life-long KGB agent watching the fall of the Soviet Union, he is facing a failure that goes beyond a failed policy and demonstrates a misconception of reality.

I see the political considerations as being directed at allowing the over-all policy to have another chance. Clearly, things are at a crisis point for the administration and they have few options and fewer chances to redeem the vision. Any chance at redemption is preferable to acknowledging failure.

“The Surge” suggests to me the same mentality the Germans had in the Battle of the Bulge: a last desperate effort to make a difference but would have made no lasting difference in outcome even if it had succeeded.

-- Big Daddy

6:01 AM  

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