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Saturday, April 21, 2007

No! No! No! A Thousand GODDAMN TIMES NO!

AP is beginning to lose the benefit of the doubt with Kid Various. It seems less and less that they are simply continually wrong, but rather, seem in an almost BBC-like fashion to have adopted an editorial stance of deliberate misinformation to undermine support for the War. In their most recent article about the length of the troop surge:

This approach underscores the central difficulty facing President Bush. If political progress is not possible in the relatively short term, then the justification for sending thousands more U.S. troops to Baghdad — and accepting the rising U.S. combat death toll that has resulted — will disappear. That in turn would put even more pressure on Bush to yield to the Democratic-led push to wind down the war in coming months.

No! No! No! A thousand goddamn times NO!

No one ever claimed that this would be a short term process. No one ever said “we are going to surge troops for 3 to 6 months and win the War.”

In fact, the basic assumptions of the surge (or rather counterinsurgency strategy [COIN]) call for an extended time frame of higher troop presence in Baghdad, and more importantly, and extended amount of time building relations and trust among the local populace.

Given how many times we have screwed them, that trust that needs to be built with the Iraqi populace can only be built over an extended period of time. The COIN strategy calls for, and has always called for, an extended deployment to protect the Iraqi populace and begin –freaking begin – to provide them with basic services.

If you read the Kagan/Keane plan “Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq” – which served as the intellectual foundation for the new COIN strategy – the plan specifically calls for a surge to last from 18 to 24 months. This would be the minimum time needed to rebuild the relations with the populace and provide a stable enough atmosphere so that the political process could once again begin.

In fact, Kagan and Keane, as well as numerous others, specifically warned against a “Surge & Run” strategy.

A six-month surge of the sort now being discussed in Washington would certainly help tamp down violence in Baghdad. And securing Baghdad, quickly and firmly, is essential if the Iraqi government is to survive. But "the reality on the streets" demands a longer commitment: The war can be lost in the next six months, but it cannot be won in the next six months.

The new COIN strategy has always planned that the end elements of the surge would arrive by the end of June. The end of June. That means that they would arrive right at the end of a “Surge & Run” operation. The point of which would be what? General Petraeus has always said that the new COIN strategy will be implemented by June and then by the end of the summer we’ll have definitive data on whether or not it’s working. Again indicating a significantly longer time frame than a 3 to 6 month operation.

Petraeus made it clear in his opening statement that he supports Bush's plan for surging troops into Baghdad, and said that he would expect to have indicators on the potential success or failure of the new plan by late summer.

The Administration has never said that the new COIN strategy will be short term and has consistently taken measures that belie that impression. At the beginning of March, General Ray Odierno stated that the higher troop levels would have to be sustained until at least February 2008.

The day-to-day commander of U.S. forces in Iraq has recommended that the heightened U.S. troop levels in Iraq be extended through February 2008, military officials said.

The confidential recommendation by the commander, Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, reflects the military's new counterinsurgency doctrine, which puts a premium on sustained efforts to win over a wary population.

In April, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that, in order to cover the amount of troops needed for the COIN strategy for an extended period, troops going to Iraq and Afghanistan would serve 15 month rotations, instead of the previous 12. This decision was not made April 10th. It’s something that has been in the works a long time and has likely been in the cards since the first planning of the new COIN strategy.

Gates said the move will also create the capacity for commanders to extend the military surge in Iraq for at least a year, although he said any such decision to do so will depend on conditions on the ground.

The fact that this is an extended operation that will last for a long time is readily apparent to anyone who is paying the slightest bit of attention. But yet the AP seems hell bent on portraying to the American public that this operation was supposed to work some sort of miracle in 3 to 6 months and that if Iraq is not a happy place by then, not only have we lost, but the President lied to us (again) selling us a bill of goods!

The idea of the troop increase, originally billed by the administration as a temporary "surge," is not to defeat the insurgency. That is not thought possible in the near term. The purpose is to contain the violence — in particular, the sect-on-sect killings in Baghdad — long enough to create an environment in which Iraqi political leaders can move toward conciliation and ordinary Iraqis are persuaded of a viable future.

No! No! No! A thousand goddamn times NO!


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