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The Real Surge in Iraq isn't US Troops

Austin Bay explains the significance of the real surge strategy in Iraq:

"More troops" isn't the most significant aspect of the military "surge" in Iraq.

Since at least fall 2003, an increase of 5,000 to 10,000 troops over a three-month window has been an option for coalition forces. For example, deploying a "ready brigade" from the 82nd Airborne Division would quickly bump troop strength in the region by around 4,000 soldiers. On several occasions (spring 2004, for example), commanders have accelerating planned reinforcements and delayed pending unit withdrawals.

Adding 20,000 troops to Iraq in a five- to six-month window is a significant increase but in and of itself not decisive, and certainly not a "new strategy."

The relentless, focused targeting of Shia and Sunni extremist organizations is a far more important feature of what Iraqis are calling "the new security plan" than more U.S. troops. The coalition's effort to better integrate the economic and political development "lines of operation" with security operations could have greater long-term effects.

Attacks on Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army have been the most public examples of "focused targeting." Though Sadr's allies deny it, Iraqi and U.S. government spokesmen still claim that Sadr has left Iraq for Iran. Sadr bolted because the new offensive is indeed striking his militia.


Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the new security plan is the increased aggressiveness of the Iraqi Army as it conducts counterinsurgent operations. The Iraqi military defeat of the cultist "Soldiers of Heaven" planned attack on Najaf in late January provides a dramatic example. With coalition backup, Iraqi forces launched a spoiling attack and killed or captured several hundred militants.

Maliki's national reconciliation program remains the key Iraqi political endeavor. That program began well before "the new security plan," but no security plan will succeed unless reconciliation occurs.

This sounds like it could very well work, which explains why so many of the anti-war leftists are so vociferously against it. Any success at all in Iraq leaves them looking completely incompetent and untrustworthy. In other words, the reality of who they really are would be exposed to the American people.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Comments (23)

So, do the democrats oppose... (Below threshold)

So, do the democrats oppose the actual plan, or just oppose the sending more troops part? Do any of them know that the "surge" includes more than just more troops?

No, the Democrats oppose an... (Below threshold)

No, the Democrats oppose any plan that could possibly result in success!

So long as we maintain the "stay the course" strategy otherwise known as "losing support for the war" strategy, the Democrats are all for it. They are also all for us admitting defeat and pulling out. Again, a win for the party, so who cares so much for the country.

How many Democrats called for just such a surge prior to the '06 midterms, only to condemn the surge afterward?

The only victory the Democrats are hungry for is continued Victory in the House and Senate and to win the Presidency in '08. Any other victory than that is not worth the effort.

Now that the military plan ... (Below threshold)

Now that the military plan has a dovetailed and reality-based political and social one to work with, it has a chance of working.

As far as the Democratic opposition: Perhaps its a mixed jealously and misunderstanding. They thought someone else was going to Splurge and were unhappy that they weren't consulted first on how to waste, I mean spend, all that money. So obviously the splurge is a waste, because it isn't Democratic.

Or maybe its my cynical self seeing the one party taking advantage of a mood in a part of the electorate, inflaming passions and creating discord amongst the opponent, regardless of the long term consequences, just to garner more power. We've seen it on both sides, if we haven't put on donkey or elephant tinted glasses.

It's not the plan they oppo... (Below threshold)

It's not the plan they oppose, so much, it's the possibility of victory they oppose. Can't have Bush running around trumping their opposition with anything they can't put a negative spin to.

We all know that they're irrelevant. Good news from Iraq would simply expose that to the rest of the world.

Kim's dead on, here.

So the most important part ... (Below threshold)

So the most important part of the surge is not the surge? Is that why British forces are leaving?

Having the Iraqi military take a larger role in policing themselves is what the Democrats have been recommending, so the surge is actually the Dems plan?

Where does the treacherous ... (Below threshold)

Where does the treacherous "slow bleed" fit into that plan, huh, Barny?

What happened in Najaf wa... (Below threshold)

What happened in Najaf was hardly a success. The US air force had to come in to save their ass. As for targeting the extreme parts of the shittes and shia forces, what the hell have we been doing the last few years? The only fraction we are behind is Maliki's and he has an extremest past and has and wants to be friends with Iran. There may be some sick libs who would like to see the US fail just because they don't want to be wrong but most would like to see a happy, safe, and stable Iraq.

Barney, the Brits ... (Below threshold)


the Brits pulling out is not an indication that they're giving up. They've done their job, and it's time for them to start peeling off the troops that aren't needed. Even the Dems admit that So. Iraq isn't all that bad, and that a majority of naughtiness is happening in and around Baghdad.

Don't lose sight of the fact that there are still fresh Brit troops being sent (Prince Harry and all of that).

Also, to be quite honest, I'm not sure what the Dems' plan has been. Whenever Bush does something that they've proposed (ie - the surge), the starting shifting goal posts and making all sorts of crazy threats.

Face it, man, the Dems hearts may be in the right place (I'm not sure how, but I'll give you that much), but their brains and souls are definitely out to lunch.

If Bush would have used the... (Below threshold)

If Bush would have used the surge at the beginning, like the CJCS wanted, (remember 500 to 600K) troops, this mess would have been over a couple of years ago.

Also the MSM is also to blame. Who wants to hear about a new school when there is blood and guts to talk about. It's all for the MSM ratings.

When is the surge going to happen in Afghanistan? Seems like OBL is back in charge, so the Taliban will be back also. Gotta love it. Damn near like the smell of napalm in the morning.

Barney, if the surge is rea... (Below threshold)

Barney, if the surge is really the Dems plan and helps give the Iraqi army some wins and, thereby, helps the Iraqi army gain some confidence and cohesiveness, so be it. I'm willing to give credit where credit is due. I presume, therefore, you and I are both Lieberman Democrats?

I have found the real "surg... (Below threshold)

I have found the real "surge". It is not the US forces or the Iraqi military stepping up (whatever happened to standing down?) it's Chalabi to the rescue!

"In a new post created earlier this year, Mr. Chalabi will serve as an intermediary between Baghdad residents and the Iraqi and U.S. security forces mounting an aggressive counterinsurgency campaign across the city. The position is meant to help Iraqis arrange reimbursement for damage to their cars and homes caused by the security sweeps in the hope of maintaining public support for the strategy."

That is right, that same man that provided the lies that the administration was all to happy to lap-up, and the same man our administration labeled as a spy for Iran, is now in charge of public relationship.

What could possibly go wrong?

Yet another example of the ... (Below threshold)

Yet another example of the stunning ineptitude of this administration. Chalabi, you're doing a heck of a job! What's next? Michael Brown as the new Iraqi prez?

Barney, you can be so obtus... (Below threshold)

Barney, you can be so obtuse. Your first paragraph (first comment) is indicitive of your lack of reading on why any of the Brits are leaving and your second paragraph is what we've been trying to do for quite some time. It happens to be everybody's plan.

Then, when your slow wit is exposed, you deftly seque on to something else with another comment. That's how you guys operate.

Kinda like throwing out verbal cluster-bombs.

Here is what a member of co... (Below threshold)

Here is what a member of congress thinks about the surge:

"It's going to be tough," Ryan said. "Within three months we'll know whether momentum is headed in the right direction; and we'll know within six months whether the results will begin to materialize or not.

"In my mind, if by the end of the summer, it's clear that this isn't working, we're going to have to go to Plan B and start withdrawing troops." Rep Ryan R-WI

Time-table? Cut and Run! Why do the Republicans hate the troops and appease the terrorists?

Let us be honest. The democ... (Below threshold)

Let us be honest. The democrats never had a plan in fact they offer very few plans for anything unless is satisfies their base of lawyers, illegal aliens and unions. I have not heard one real plan from the democrats through this whole thing. Except maybe Biden saying we should split the country into three sectors. Sure, that will end the fighting. Howard Dean even said on a talking heads show that "we don't need a plan." Two things are motivating the left on the war, they hate the military (and always have) and hate GW. That and only that is their motivation. Just read their comments and it always focuses to those two points. ww

I just finished reading <a ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I just finished reading an article in 'Newsweek' 'In For the Long Haul'
The Petraeus plan will have U.S. forces deployed in Iraq for years to come. Does anybody running for president realize that?

George Bush, Kim Priesthap and some of the posters who believe that the reason for the surge is stilll so "they can stand-up.. then we can stand down" seem naive or disingenous. To quote the writer: "The U.S. Army has also stopped pretending that Iraqis--who have failed to build a credible government, military or police force on their own--are in the lead when it comes to kicking down doors and keeping the peace. And that means the future of Iraq depends on the long-term presence of U.S. forces in a way it did not just a few months ago. "We're putting down roots," says Philip Carter, a former U.S. Army captain who returned last summer from a year of policing and training in the hot zone around Baquba. "The Americans are no longer willing to accept failure in order to put Iraqis in the lead. You can't let the mission fail just for the sake of diplomacy." This may be why the Democrats are in shock, the worse it gets, the longer we are going to stay.

Petraeus was confirmed unan... (Below threshold)

Petraeus was confirmed unanimously, correct? And this has been his plan from the beginning, right? So were the Democrats for the surge before they were against it? Or were they against the surge but supporting Petraeus? Or were they lied to again by our evil President?

However you cut it, they look like fools.

What could possibly go ... (Below threshold)

What could possibly go wrong?
Posted by: BarneyG2000 at February 23, 2007 11:06 AM

Puzzle me this Barney G Rubble2000:

Why do you consistently post quotes with no link or attribution?

A cynic might believe you read it and copied said quotes from a source even you are willing to accept as unreliable and refuse to provide a trail back to it.

just finished rea... (Below threshold)
Dan Irving:

just finished reading an article in 'Newsweek'

That was your first mistake ...

This may be why the Democrats are in shock, the worse it gets, the longer we are going to stay.

The fact is the situation on the ground is getting better. Notice I said better and not great. We are working against centuries of tribal mentality. It's going to take a long time to get past this. The safer we can make it will enable more people like Omar and Mohammed at Iraq the Model to change their country for the better.

Call me naieve if you will - but I think it's even more naieve to think that this will all go away once we pull out of Iraq.

However you cut it, they... (Below threshold)

However you cut it, they look like fools.

The people who look like fools are those of you who believe that this is a "new" strategy that we are now pursuing in Iraq. There's nothing new about it at all. It's more of the same that we've been doing all along.

This "new startegy" is nothing more than an elaborate PR campaign designed by Bush and Rove to fool the 30% of the American people who still support into the war into supporting it a little longer.

Bush's goal is to simply play out the clock on Iraq so he can dump the whole disaster on the next President who will ultimately make the tough decision to withdraw and leave chaos and carnage behind. By keeping our troops in place, we can delay the upcoming showdown between the Shiites and Sunnis but we can't prevent it anymore than the British could prevent the bloodletting between the Hindus and Muslims that occurred when they pulled out of India.

We will pull out of Iraq one day and many people will die when we do, but we also cannot possibly stay in Iraq forever. If the British had taken the same approach they would still be occupying India and Pakistan today. At least they have figured out that nation building in Iraq isn't going to work and that it's time to pull out. We will figure it out too, but only after a lot more of our troops die and we have a new President.

Whew, Larkin, you ducked my... (Below threshold)

Whew, Larkin, you ducked my questions COMPLETELY. Good job.

>> Petraeus was confirmed u... (Below threshold)

>> Petraeus was confirmed unanimously, correct?

We all know it was a unanimous vote.

>> And this has been his plan from the beginning, right?

Petraeus is a leader in the area of counterinsurgency doctrine. To say that this is "his plan" though implies that you have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the administration. How do you know Petraeus didn't request 40,000 additional troops or even 100,000? Maybe he didn't request any at all. The bottom line is that he is tasked with carrying out the plan agreed to by all the decisionmakers in the administration. As such, this plan is the "US plan" and it has elements of Petraeus' counter-insurgency doctrine. Whether it is entirely, exactly 100% the plan he would create if he were President himself we may never know (or until he writes his memoirs).

>> So were the Democrats for the surge before they were against it?

No, they've always been against additional troops. But voting against Petreaus won't stop the additional troops being set. Someone else would have taken his place and executed the exact same plan.

>> Or were they against the surge but supporting Petraeus?

This is just a game that you on the right have been playing. It doesn't play with the American people. They know the Democrats want to get us out of Iraq. That's why they voted for them in November. Defeating Petraeus wouldn't have the effect of bring our troops home. The vote for Petraeus was a vote to send the most highly qualified general we have into the middle of Iraq's civil war. It doesn't imply support for Bush's "new" Iraq strategy. Frankly, you people look foolish for suggesting that does.

Bwahahaha. You play right i... (Below threshold)

Bwahahaha. You play right into my hands.
> So were the Democrats for the surge before they were against it?

No, they've always been against additional troops."

"Sen. John Kerry, Bush's Democratic opponent in last year's presidential election, told NBC's "Today" show that the borders of Iraq "are porous" and said "we don't have enough troops" there."

"Sen. Joseph Biden Jr., appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," disputed Bush's notion that sufficient troops are in place."


"REP. PELOSI: Clear and present danger facing the United States is terrorism. We have to solidify, we have to stabilize the situation in Iraq. As secretary of state has said, "You break it, you own it." We have a responsibility now in Iraq there. And we have to get more troops on the ground."

"There's more recent examples. Harry Reid was for more troops as late as 12/17/06. Now he's opposed. Sylvester Reyes called specifically for 20-30k troops in late November or early December. Now he's opposed too. For what other reasons other than politics can these two have changed their tune in such short order?"


As for Petraeus' role in the "surge" strategy:
"Upon Senate confirmation and the receipt of his fourth star, making him a full general, he is expected to spend some weeks assessing conditions in Iraq and drafting a strategic plan that goes beyond the current debate over whether to increase U.S. troop levels by up to five brigades, roughly 20,000 troops. That "surge" is consistent with the military's new counterinsurgency manual, much of which Petraeus wrote, which stresses protecting the indigenous population and imposing security as a condition for stability."


Lying bastard.






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