Back In 2006: The Bush “Strategy” for 2008

Back in January, I argued that the Bush "surge strategy" was doomed to failure unless buttressed by active efforts to find a political solution to the Iraq crisis.  This week’s Congressional testimony by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan C. Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to the country, has failed to prove otherwise.

(There was surprisingly nothing of substance in the Ambassador Crocker’s testimony, an unusually empty-worded and boring — even by diplomatic standards — recital.  The only memorable line has been Crocker’s description of Iraq as "a traumatized society", a nice euphemism for more appropriate "failed state.")

Embellished by 13 slides, General Petraeus’ oral presentation was better in style, but hardly on substance.  I leave it to experts to debate whether General’s data do prove that the surge has made Iraq "safer."  But I was stunned by his logic: the "surge" (that is, the addition of 30,000 troops) has allegedly reduced "violence" to the levels of the summer of 2006.

Think about it for a moment: not to the zero violence (and we supposedly have liberated the Iraqis from a brutal dictator) and not even to the pre-war violence, but to the levels of the brutal, violent, bloody 2006.

Taking this 2006 level of violence as a benchmark and citing "improvement in security", Petraeus now proposes a troop reduction to their pre-"surge" level.  According to his plan, by the summer of 2008, the 2006 level of violence will be maintained not by 160,000, but, rather, by 130,000 troops contingent.  In other words, in 2008 we will be again where we were in 2006 — with the same troops level and with the same level of violence.

Is this "progress"?  Is it something worth calling "strategy"?

The absurdity of the "surge strategy" can be summarized in one line from Petraeus’ talk:

"Political progress will take place only if sufficient security exist."

Dead wrong.  Sufficient security in Iraq — as in any other troubled spot on Earth — can be established only after sufficient political progress having taken place.   No testimonies — including tonight’s televised address by President Bush — can change this simple fact.

About Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov is a PMI-certified Innovation Management Consultant who helps organizations increase the efficiency of their internal and external innovation programs.
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One Response to Back In 2006: The Bush “Strategy” for 2008

  1. Evrviglnt says:

    This quote:
    “Think about it for a moment: not to the zero violence (and we supposedly have liberated the Iraqis from a brutal dictator) and not even to the pre-war violence, but to the levels of the brutal, violent, bloody 2006.”
    Is there any country in the world, in human history that has had zero violence? And you don’t believe that getting rid of Saddam and his Sunni dominated spoils systems with its rape rooms and mass graves hasn’t “liberated” Iraqis? Enough with the moral equivalience – the standards you hold are too high even for God to satisfy.
    And Again – with this ‘there’s no progress until there’s political progress’ line – I know when I hear that platitude that the person hasn’t thought very hard about what has been going on historically in Iraq and the Middle East. The reason why there is reduced violence in Iraq right now is because the Sunnis and the Shittes find it safer to work with the Americans than to work with Al Qaeda – a terrorist outfit that appeals to the Islamic nationalism of everyone in the MIddle East – Arabs or Persians. Political progress only comes after security progress – when those putting their lives on the line can take the positions necessary for political reconciliation without themselves being murdered and their families tortured.
    And it isn’t American soldiers that are hunting down those who are interested in peace – it is those that see profit in pitting one sect against another. Every time someone in the West demands the cart before the horse – the terrorists in Iraq win. It’s hard to assume many understand this yet insist on the impossible because for them the enemy isn’t Al Qaeda, or even Islamic extremism, but America’s confronting of it.
    And to think I was cruising Russian sites to find someone to interview about the political moves happening in Russia! You’re killing me with this thoughtlessness!

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