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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bush's Iraq Strategy is More Than Just Escalation

By Dennis Byrne

How can so many people--Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), the Boston Globe, Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson, anti-war senators and on and on--be so ignorant about such a simple concept?

They are acting as if President George W. Bush's "new strategy" in Iraq is just to "escalate the war" by sending in 20,000 more troops. As anyone one notch above simpleminded ought to be able to understand, the core of Bush's new strategy is about how to fight the enemy.

Instead of clearing an area of insurgents and then leaving, as U.S. troops have been doing for too long, they'll now clear and stay, to secure the neighborhood. They'll stay to provide what has been most missing in this war and what poll after poll say that Iraqis want more than anything else: protection and peace.

If ever there is a recipe for defeat, whether in a traditional war or one against insurgency, it has been the previous Bush administration policy to fight to the death to clear out the enemy, and then promptly leave so that the enemy can pour back in virtually on your heals. How can you expect to get commitment and cooperation from civilians that know that the insurgents will return next week with their threats, violence and brutality?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

1 comment:

Roach said...

I think it's funny you describe critics of the "new" Bush strategy as ignorant. Supposedly we're doing something new, holding the ground we clear, instead of giving it back to the enemy. But we're not holding it, we never have, and we never could because we would need 200-300,000 troops to do so.

In the past, as now, we did not have enough troops to do the "hold" part, and the lack of security that entails has continually hampered the "build" part. When we relied on Iraqis to do the hold part they failed or devolved into sectarian death squads, as we’ve seen with the (Shia) Iraqi Police in Baghdad.

As for numbers, as revealed in Fiasco among other sources, prewar planners looking at the numbers employed successfully in Bosnia anticipated it would take 2-300,000 troops to get it done. Even with the surge, we're well below that number.

Indeed, if you look at the November 2005 “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq’ document you’ll clearly see on page 7 that our military strategy is “Clear, Hold, and Build.”

We've been trying this a while, but we don't have enough troops so we just move them around, they go from Mosul to Fallujah to Baghdad and as they leave each of these locales, things go to hell.

Finally, even if we could clear-hold-and-build, the bigger strategic problem is that the Iraqi government is essentially a Shia death squad with fancy uniforms and US-bought gear. The Sunnis are mad at us for putting them in power and also scared for their lives. There is no way this Shia-and-Kurd-dominated government could ever “clear and hold and build” the Sunnis areas because its personnel are moonlighting as death squad members and will not make the Sunnis feel secure if they are installed in places like Ramadi and Fallujah. Nothing was more illustrative of this fact than the Moqtadar chanting at Saddam’s execution.

So why don’t you correct yourself and admit that you, not Bush’s critics, are ignorant for thinking the latest surge represents a change in strategy. It does not, it's a continuation of an already failed strategy