The news out of Iraq is so good, that even Army and Marine officers are surprised:
Violence in Iraq has fallen at a rate that has surprised military commanders and even one of the architects of the
Violence in Iraq has fallen at a rate that has surprised military commanders and even one of the architects of the
The reason troop levels have been emphasized is because of the oversimplification that our domestic politics engenders. Many Republicans that are going wobbly can’t wait to declare victory and leave. I don’t blame the administration so much for selling the surge; it is an inevitable outcome of the asinine political debate that we have had to put up with for the last 4 years.
Did you really expect anything different? Bush couldn’t manage a media campaign for an uncontested city council seat, much less a multigenerational war against an international cabal of self-detonating religious zealots.
Hmmm, well much as I myself have had some serious ‘issues’ with the Bush administration’s handling of the infowar and the War itself, the fact is that it IS a Surge. And it is a function of both numbers and tactics but mostly as you say tactics. But if you think that the ‘people’ as a whole can understand the whole picture when even today, only 26% supposedly think that the US is winning in Iraq, I have a few bridges you might want to buy. These are ‘details’ that most of the sheeple can’t bother to pay any attention to
And one little qualifier to the gross incompetence diatribe might be added here based on current projections.
Is it quite fair to allege such a gross level of incompetence when it now appears that the War will be essentially won sometime in 2008 ? In 5 years the incompetents have :
A. Overthrown Saddam.
B. Re-established the State Apparatus from a base of nothing.
C. Built from the same nothing a steadily improving Iraqi Army.
D. Crushed a vicious and immoral internal insurgency.
E. Defeated Shiite extremists and allowed Sadr enough rope to almost hang himself.
F. Handed Al-Queda a catastrophic military, psychological, and propaganda defeat.
G. Co-opted or at least ‘moderated’ much of the likely leadership candidates in any future Iraq.
H. Got the World to forgive virtually all of Iraq’s debt and instituted a completely new currency system, and begun a process of structural economic reform.
All in only 5 years. In a place that by all accounts was about as dysfunctional as a place can get and still nominally function.
Methinks that perhaps you are being just a trifle ‘harsh’.
The reason troop levels have been emphasized is because of the oversimplification that our domestic politics engenders.
That’s certainly the only part of the plan that was felt at home. Treating tribal leaders as valuable partners (instead of outdated backwoods hillbillies who would be pushed aside to make room for the New Democratic Iraq) isn’t something the average reporter would pick up on even if he left the Green Zone.
Certainly editors living in America would have no clue. They’ve shown almost zero interest in reporting the strategy used by American forces in Iraq since the end of the big battles a month into the invasion.
Actually, I back in 2002, I expected things in Iraq to take at least ten years. What I didn’t expect was for Bush to throw away three or four of them.
That Gen Petraeus has turned things around so quickly, and (one hopes) completely, says more about the military and its new trial-by-fire leadership than it does about Bush.
I would suggest holding off a year or two before concluding that three or four years were thrown away. It is possible that the current success is based on the maligned efforts made during those years. The War of the Running Dogs followed a similar course before Templar was able to fashion a successful plan.
Sun Tzu chapter 6:*
Getting the enemy to approach on his own accord is a matter of showing him advantage;
If the bad guys attack when we start to draw down because they listen to the “big lie” all the better. Our team will have more opportunity to identify and neutralize them.
Sun Tzu Chapter 3:
to subjugate the enemy’s army without doing battle is the highest of excellence.
Our civil progress robs the enemy of resources now that they have lost support from the Iraqi “street”. What’s that a loser once said about people following the strong horse? How do the people feel about the psycopathic horse?
I don’t give a poo about what the media says Bush says. I care about what he does.
While it could be better, the alternatives could be far worse…
I firmly believe our system gets it right most of the time.
Thanks for the soapbox.
* all Sun Tzu quotes courtesy of Sunshi
It has been my experience that people who spout Sun Tzu quotes are either armchair generals or selling a business seminar. That’s not to say that he isn’t worth reading, but The Art of War is now a brand, and unfortunately it is more of a Red Lobster than a good seafood joint they’ve never heard of – they think they’re getting seafood, and are more than happy to tell you all about this week’s specials. Meanwhile, people who like seafood are pleased that Red Lobster keeps these folks away from crab shacks in Delaware and NYC sushi houses.
I don’t know how Bush is supposed to control the Media. Other than sometimes Fox news, it’s completely hostile to him. Whatever he says, they’ll spin negatively.
And while I suppose he could do something like those old fireside chats, I doubt the American public has the attention span for that sort of thing.
I still don’t understand why we let Sanchez and Abizaid keep our guys in big bases and doing sweeps…didn’t they read The Village by Bing West?
It’s easier to label it “Surge” than “a change of strategy”, WOT than war on Islamic extremism.
What has come to be known as “the surge” was actually a tactic and strategy developed by the French in Algeria back in the 50s. I know, I know, we’ve all been taught that the French lost and had to surrender to the FLN. The truth is that the French began to “flood the zone” house by house and then hold each house; hold each block, hold each neighborhood. The reason we think the tactics failed is that the hard core Left in Paris was rioting in the streets and DeGaulle grabbed power by pandering to this movement by guaranteeing France would get out of the “losing war” in Algeria. When the French left the vacuum was filled by the same terrorists that they had beaten and these terrorists murdered tens of thousands of Algerians who had supported the French. The same will happen in Iraq, if we just leave; the only difference will be that we will leave the best trained army in the entire Arab World and if a “strong man” takes over, guess what?
Our failure to recognize the tribal nature of the country is the true incompetence of the Bush Administration. Anyone who did any casual reading about the area had to know that the tribes were several thousand years old and were the bedrock of the country. Saddam couldn’t destroy them, nor could the Brits, French, or Muslims. They are still settling scores that are a thousand years old; that’s what tribes do.
So far it looks like we have awakened to the obvious and are allowing and encouraging alliances between tribes and because we are visibly helping to rebuild the country we have helped destroy, the tribes will support those who support us. The alternative is an Al Qaeda that will enter the vacuum and kill their way to the top.
The surge is working as is the new tribal recognition strategy and the only way we can lose is if the Democrats prevail and we have to surrender.
The reality of this situation is extremely simple and obvious but goes unremarked because of the willful blindness and cognitive failings of the observers.
The change in tactics that is being held to be responsible for the current success was made possible by everything accomplished in previous years. Far from years being wasted or “thrown away” the entire campaign has been managed with an unprecedented degree of efficiency and strategic insight that is little short of brilliant.
Our failure to recognize the tribal nature of the country is the true incompetence of the Bush Administration.
I’m not sure how this failure manifested itself, other than in the decision to have Iraq’s constitution set election by party list (as in many Parliamentary democracies), instead of by majority within a district (as in the U.S., and, I think, Britain). This was, to my mind, a major mistake of the Bush Administration, but as with their other Iraq mistakes (going to the UN one more time, putting in L. Paul Bremer instead of an Iraqi), one pushed by the career elements of the State Department, and as such not properly labeled as an “incompetence of the Bush Administration”.
Exactly what medium should the President use to get his message out?
Actions speak louder than words, I am happy they aren’t trying to spin this, it is refreshing.
There are too many people out there that would be putting on sun tan lotion if President Bush at midnight said it was dark outside.
The PR presentation is fine by me.
“What I didn’t expect was for Bush to throw away three or four of them.”
Such a bullshit statement, Mr. Green.
In any operation of such magnitude there will always be aspects that color it as failure. There will always be missteps, and there will always be proper steps that seem unproductive as trust building or order establishment takes place.
Were it not for the unbridled opportunistic oppositionalism of Left politicians and media (plus soft-minded buy-in by some in the center and right), this campaign would be rightfully hailed as perhaps the most effective of all time.
I have my disagreements with Bush on a lot of issues, one of which has been stated to be how he handled the infowar.
But, give credit where it is due, he did not back down, he did not allowed polls and defecting Republicans to stop him, he fought and he did commit to the surge and the counterinsurgency tactics change.
Had he not stuck to his guns despite overwhelming opposition, the progress and success we are seeing wouldn’t have been possible.
I might disagree with much he has done, immigration as just one example but he does deserve quite a bit of credit for maintaining success as his goal and fighting for it.
When the enemy owns the media (whether through outright bribery, ideological sympathy or intimidation) it is difficult to get the message out.
Rumsfields biggest mistake was not shooting a couple of hundred members of the media.
I don’t think it is really fair to call the Bush administration stupid when it seems that Stephen Green is unaware of the fact that the “surge” is a military term of art. Not everything is PR.
Iraq is very much a media war, and managing perceptions and expectations is at least as important as how the military performs in the field.
If you think Bush has done a good job of that, then I suggest you spend less time reading field manuals from the 19 Century, and a little more time studying stuff from the 21st.
I share your opinion of Bush’s competence.
Still, a pyrrhic victory is better than a ruinous defeat.
Fair points on both sides of this argument. Bush’s refusal to defend the original case invasion being more than just “WMD” and articulate what things have been found in post invasion Iraq that may indicate Saddam’s Iraq was no friend of the U.S. or just an innocent country did so much damage to the entire effort that explaining the rationale behind current operations continues to be non existent or something that he feels he can’t or doesn’t need to do for whatever reason.
How in the world the argument over Iraq ever got to the point where almost noone that is against the invasion has to explain what Saddam would be doing right now had he been left in place is to me, as big of a mistake as any in the current infowar. By ceding support for the original decision he also ceded later debates about tactics and strategy.
I’ll continue waiting for a good explanation on this and have asked people close to the administration and have yet to get anything remotely coherent on this…
the funny thing is the other option was “escalation” put forth by the loyal opposition. how soon we forgot that tempest in a teapot which defined the increase in forces.
and yes the bush admin sucks at infowar. one reason is any proactive move like rewarding positive iraqi columns were seen as upsetting rice bowls of our media. hard to keep ahead of the infowar when you are playing defense only.
Well remember – when the MSM ‘reporting’ primarily is the reading of DNC press releases it’s hard to really explain what you mean
“Iraq is very much a media war, and managing perceptions and expectations”
That presumes that Bush receives a fair hearing in the MSM.
To quote Gob Bluth – Come on!!!!