Sunday, March 11, 2007

Now Even Surge-ier! With 21% More Troops!

Ummm. I was right. Again. Quite a few of us were asking the question "what's the real troop numbers involved in this ill-advised troop buildup fiasco? I for one was quick to ask that question.

And I was right to do so.

A month after Dave Petraeus jetted off to Baghdad to assume command of ground forces there he is back, asking for more troops in addition to the 21,500 that are on the ground or in the deployment pipeline.

And the poisonous vine known as mission creep has taken firm root.

And the Bug Hunt continues - violence increases in the provinces of Diyala and Anbar while Baghdad simmers. Any perceived "peace" in Baghdad is a Potemkin Peace at best.
The surge was originally advertised as topping out at 21,500 additional troops. But on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Petraeus had requested 2,200 more military police – to serve as jailors for an expected increase in detainees – and that an additional 2,400 support troops would be needed, bringing the total surge to 27,100, a 21-percent increase over original expectations. (emphasis added)

Frederick Kagan, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute and an advocate of adding troops, blames the White House for the impression that the surge is growing. He says support troops were always going to be needed, but the Bush adminstration failed to make that clear. But he adds that Petraeus will ask for even more troops if he thinks they're needed. "Of course the enemy has a vote and the situation can change."

The US won't be at full strength in Iraq until June. But even then, General McCaffrey warns, lasting gains won't be made quickly. "Can you, by continuous levels of combat presence, change the underlying nature of a civil war? Or course not, and Petraeus knows that,'' he says. What Petraeus can do, McCaffrey argues, is to create conditions in which the Shiite-backed government and allied militias and Sunni Arab insurgents decide it's in neither's interest to keep fighting. (emphasis added)

Petraeus said Thursday that Sunni insurgents appear to be moving out of the way of heightened US combat patrols, and said he may soon dispatch more forces to Diyala Province, just north of Baghdad. Sunni insurgents appear to be regrouping there, he said. Petraeus did strike some upbeat notes, saying that Sunni Arab Anbar Province – home to Fallujah and locale of the most US combat deaths – has been calmer, and attributed that to local leaders saying "enough" to the conflict.
Yep. Moving out of the way. Parse that phrase, why don't you. Moving out of the way. Not changing ideology, not laying down weapons, not striving for peace...Moving out of the way.

An act of self preservation, not political reconciliation. What one does when one wants to live to fight another day.

This is a Bug Hunt, and the Iraqis have the homefield advantage. Our soldiers and Marines don't know who the enemy is. It is an enemy that can fade into shadows and disappear. They are using the same tactics that Americans developed and perfected in our own War for Independence.

They are using the tactics of out-gunned insurgents everywhere.

I lived in the Middle East twice in my life, first as a Navy brat and then as an Air Force wife. The people of the region have a saying - Keeping ones enemy in a constant state of aggravation, agitation and tension is it's own victory.

The war in Iraq has proven that adage true.


opit said...

That's quite the ad line you've got there. I like the Fubar,Bug Hunt and Mission Creep tags you have on the go. I should encourage you to get my tags and add some colour while glomming more free bookmarks. God knows what the kids on YooNo or StumbleUpon would make of them if I powered those programs back up out of hiatus.

Apollo 13 said...

You deserve a pat on the back. In fact, I can't think of a time that you weren't right or well-informed about some military subject.

mbg said...

As Mr. mbg says, "That's one savvy gal." And I have long seconded that emotion! Well, really, since I was the one that tuirned him on to you, I said it first!!

exMI said...

My focus would have been more on the second part of McCaffrey's sentence, "What Petraeus can do, McCaffrey argues, is to create conditions in which the Shiite-backed government and allied militias and Sunni Arab insurgents decide it's in neither's interest to keep fighting."

And it can work.