Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Benchmarks, This Time

All signs indicate Bush is going to escalate America's involvement in Iraq. He has changed commanders, will add 20,000 or so more soldiers, will alter counterinsurgency tactics to be somewhat more aggressive, and will attempt to increase economic assistance. In other words, he is going against everything the Iraqi Study Group said and he's going to follow the same course as before, only more so.

Will it work this time? It is hard for an armchair warrior like me to know for sure, sitting back here in a comfortable office in the U.S. But I am skeptical. Our soldiers are already working hard and I am not sure how different or how much more magically effective new tactics can be. I am also skeptical that a 20% increase in soldiers will make much of an operational difference. But still, many will argue that we should give the President one more chance to see if he can meet some of his original goals.

Not so fast, I say. If we are going to give Bush another chance, then this time we must demand real benchmarks, goals, and timetables. Bush has so far refused to set any specific goals or accept any clear metrics because he knows damned well what those would show. If Bush tries once again to avoid any meaningful criteria by which we can judge his "new" course, Congress should fight him with everything in their power until he sets real benchmarks. Neither the American public nor our men and women in uniform can afford any more lies and deceptions; we cannot afford to write this Commander-in-Chief yet another blank check.


Anonymous said...

Not only am I skeptical, I doubt it will work.

You can surge in, but then you have to hold the territory when the surge is over.

We "surged" in Fallujah, made progress, then left. The terrorists and insurgents just moved back in. Israel has learned the same lesson in Lebanon and Gaza. Terrorists and insurgents are like weeds. You can clear them out, but turn your back, and they will be right there again.

I will be waiting to see what the Congress says when the funding request comes. As far as I am concerned, the President is more worried about "loosing" than the lives of the Americans and the Iraqis that will be lost. He is the real arm chair solider.

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

Increasing US troop levels by about 15% will definitely increase the number of targets and US casualties. That's about all we can guarantee. They may be able to temporarily stablize Baghdad for 60-90 days in order to make a claim of victory, a temporary political victory to save GWBush's ass at the expense of a couple hundred US lives. That is the BEST they could achieve. But I suspect even that is impossible. They kind of tried it earlier this summer by regrouping forces into Baghdad. By far the most likely outcome now is to avoid being "drawn into" the civil war by fighting against BOTH sides - the Mahdi armi and the Sunni militias.

At some point in this process, even the "Green Zone" will be breached, and then we will all see total failure.

The ONLY solution we have is to begin an exit now and hope the Shiite majority can continue to rule in our absence.  

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

Weeeell, if every single one of those new soldiers is a fluent Arabic speaker, that could help (probably a lot). But somehow I doubt that.

You're right - there needs to be a lot of pressure on Bush for some actual goals, deadlines etc rather than this horrible open-ended mess that's currently happening (especially since he seems to be *totally* ignoring everything the study group said - does anyone know how much that report cost?).  

// posted by Pombat

Anonymous said...

Pombat you should be Defense Secretary. More Arabic speakers would be great - as long as they aren't Gay cause then we'd have to drum them out of the military despite their remarkable usefullness.

The way I figure it, we could double or even triple the number of troops and it wouldn't matter in the long run. About the one thing that we can be certain of is that as soon as we pull out, all Hell is going to break loose between the Sunnis and the Shiites and the Kurds.

All the research on the scores of civil wars that have taken place in the last century or so shows that the best sure way to end a civil war is to let the sides fight it out. If you intervene and impose a peace before the power relationships are clearly established on the battle field, that peace will only last so long as the troops are there to enforce it. Take the troops away and the peace will collapse like a house of cards.

We're in a medium grade civil war now. Only the presence of our troops is keeping it that cool. Bush seems to be gambling that by surging our troop strength he can impose a sufficiently peaceful period long enough to get some sort of agreement between the three ethnic groups. But there is little to no evidence that such an agreement would survive our troops pulling out - and they will eventually pull out no matter how many we put in now.

This plan is all about keeping the war going until after Bush leaves office but doing it in a way that doesn't completely sabotage Republican candidates in 2008. They're gambling that they can impose a period of peace just long enough to get them past November 2008. Then they'll be able to stay the course another 4 years.


// posted by RBR

Anonymous said...

Well, I would disagree that the *only* way to resolve a civil war is to let the sides fight it out. I think it is true much of the time, however, I'd point out that we've tried that for over 50 years in Israel.And the Congo since . . . don't know when.

The key to letting them "fight it out" is keeping outsiders out of it. But this rarely happens. You still have to watch Iran and Syria, not to mention Saudi. I am hearing from my Saudi sources that one reason their ambassador was recalled was because he said if we pulled out of Iraq, Saudi would go it. Guess the King didn't like that. 

// posted by USwest