Friday, July 13, 2007

Iraq War Death Spiral

Being the pessimist I've always been, it looks to me that the spiral to failure is finally becoming obvious. With the likes of Lugar, Gregg, Snow, and all the other fools becoming incontinent over Iraq, we have truly reached the point where it's clear that the crash will occur.

Krauthammer points out how they've essentially abandoned Petraeus when he likely has a clear understanding of what is needed and how to evolve in the counterinsurgency.
We don't yet know if this strategy will work in mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhoods. Nor can we be certain that this cooperation between essentially Sunni tribal forces and an essentially Shiite central government can endure. But what cannot be said -- although it is now heard daily in Washington -- is that the surge, which is shorthand for Gen. David Petraeus's new counterinsurgency strategy, has failed. The tragedy is that, just as a working strategy has been found, some Republicans in the Senate have lost heart and want to pull the plug.

It is understandable that Sens. Lugar, Voinovich, Domenici, Snowe and Warner may no longer trust President Bush's judgment when he tells them to wait until Petraeus reports in September. What is not understandable is the vote of no confidence they are passing on Petraeus. These are the same senators who sent him back to Iraq by an 81 to 0 vote to institute his new counterinsurgency strategy.

A month ago, Petraeus was asked whether we could still win in Iraq. The general, who had recently attended two memorial services for soldiers lost under his command, replied that if he thought he could not succeed he would not be risking the life of a single soldier.

Gotta love Krauthammer for giving us links to his discussion points. Few opinion writers are willing to lead you to the information they're discussing.

Then there is MICHAEL O'HANLON AND JASON CAMPBELL discussing The metrics of progress. No surprise, they are the same as they have been all along. Security, economy, politics, etc. This part on Politics I think is a bit deceptive.
Politics. This will probably be the deciding factor in our September debate, as it should be. Gen. Petraeus is fond of saying that politics are 80% of any counterinsurgency operation, and military efforts only 20%. Regardless of whether or not that ratio is right, the broad message is hard to deny. The recent Iraqi decision to forward a draft hydrocarbons bill to the full parliament is not an adequate accomplishment in this regard (as the administration's report rightly recognized): Actual results that begin to affect daily life and governance are needed.
The 80/20 ratio may be true in the measure of the counterinsurgency overall, but in certain periods it's a lot more military than politics. Without the security the military provides and enforces, the political will just won't appear. At the moment I'd say the ration is closer to 50/50.

The end result is still disheartening. I don't think the US has the political will to take this to the best conclusion. They may not even have the will to take it to a neutral conclusion. Sadly the loud mouths on Capital Hill are proving they care more about political BS than they do about the overall success and security of the country.

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