You Call This a Victory?

Matthew Yglesias takes a break from the Iowa caucus madness to point out, quite rightly, that the Surge has been an unambiguous failure.

The theory behind the surge was clear. Some people said more troops would bring more security to Iraq. Critics of that idea noted that sending more troops would be logistically unsustainable. Surge theorists posited that a temporary increase in force levels would create a temporary increase in security that would open window of opportunity for political reconciliation that would allow for a permanent increase in security. So the surge was implemented. As of September, the surge had failed to generate the political reconciliation that would allow for a permanent increase in security. Surge supporters told skeptics we had to give it more time. Three months later, the surge has still failed to generate the political reconciliation that would allow for a permanent increase in security.

Now we’re near the point of de-surging — the window is closing rapidly and nobody thinks the opportunity will be seized. And yet surge fans are declaring victory. It’s doesn’t make sense. The surge’s architects laid out admirably clear goals for it. Laid them out and unambiguously failed to meet them.

No arguments here. Unless, of course, you’re among those who think that the primary goal of the Iraq War after about 2004 was not democracy in Iraq, but rather a permanent American military presence. If you have that as a goal, then it’s clear that the Surge has been an unambiguous success, because now those folks have learned that if you can just keep American casualties low enough, then Congress will give up on trying bring the troops home even though a majority of the public wants them to.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, National Security, , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Wayne says:

    Keep hoping for defeat and moving the goal posts. It won’t happen while Bush is in office. If the U.S. voters vote in a defeatist Dem then they will be responsible for any defeat in Iraq.

    The surge purpose was to reduce the violence, which it has. Politics take a long time. Look at how late or uncompleted many required bills there has been in this last U.S. congress and we are suppose to have our cr#@ together.

  2. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Really? Everyone — including Petraeus — admits that we’ll have to considerably lower our troop levels in Iraq by July at the latest WHATEVER happens, simply because the military is being exhausted. In other words, we’re going to find out before the end of this year whether the mice are willing to play together nicely when the cat’s away, and so far there’s very little indication that they are.

  3. davod says:

    “so far there’s very little indication that they are.” I would suggest that this comment is completely the reverse of what is happening.

    It seems as if the Copperheads are posting tonight. Maybe it in something to do with the voting in Iowa. The adults are busy on other issues and left a crack in the door.

  4. DL says:

    When the casualties are high they count every night and scream that this proves the war is a failure -when they are low they scream every night that this proves the war is a failure.

    Those who cried “exit strategy” before the first shot fired landed are still pulling for the other side to win. Such is the sorry state of America today.

  5. Tlaloc says:

    I would suggest that this comment is completely the reverse of what is happening.

    Then you aren’t paying attention. Since the surge began the government has gotten more polarized, more sectarian. The Sunni members of the ruling coalition pulled out mid last year. Baghdad has become more homogeneous as Sunni have fled the nations capital.

    At the same time we armed the local Sunni militias who now constitute a much stronger threat to the government’s power than before. We did it because they would kill AQI fighters. great,but now AQI is essentially out of the picture and the goverment has openly declared that the militias will not be allowed to stay armed.

    I’d give you a chance to guess what will happen next but it really seems like you need things explained to you.

    See when the government’s Ministry of the Interior death squads show up to take the guns away from the militias the militias are going to say “no.” Then the shooting and the midnight kidnappings, and the bodies found with drill holes in the skull will start up again.

    I have to admit a considerable amount of shameful joy in imagining the faces of people like you in the coming year. It is shameful because your humiliation comes at the expense of people suffering in Iraq. But since the suffering is going to happen anyway I might as well enjoy it destroying the last feeble dreams of the neocon hawks.