TCS Daily

The Real News Behind "The Surge"

By Austin Bay - February 23, 2007 12:00 AM

"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.

In 2004, Iraqi Shia leaders, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, told coalition commanders that Sadr should be dealt with politically -- and by Iraqis. Sistani's preferred method was to either absorb Sadr into the emerging democratic system or slowly marginalize him. Either way, Iraqis would defang Sadr without making him a "martyr."

The "preferred method" produced mixed results. Sadr was certainly not absorbed, nor was he thrust to the political margins. Sadr's personal influence has clearly diminished, however. In the meantime, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki -- a Shia -- has become Iraq's leading political figure. Moreover, Maliki enjoys Sistani's support and Sadr Sistani's disdain.

Maliki understands the United States will no longer wait for Sadr's dissipation. The Hollywood marquee would read "Maliki or Muqtada" -- a facile headline, but one containing a gram of truth. As coalition and Iraqi forces crack down on the Mahdi Army, Maliki is getting a few welcome political breaks, which may be the pleasant residue of "the preferred method." Sadr's "Iran trip" may have been a practical necessity, but it was not politically astute. It reinforces Iraqi contentions that Sadr's organization acts on behalf of Iran and that Sadr, rather than being the voice of the disenfranchised, is a mouthpiece.

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.

The Office of National Reconciliation conducts "engagements" with the entire spectrum of ethnic, religious and political groups. Last week, in a phone interview with journalists and commentators, coalition spokesman U.S. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell discussed how his Strategic Effects Office works with the Iraqi government on this issue.

"In the last three months on any given day of week we're doing (numerous reconciliation) engagements," Caldwell said. His office has helped coordinate the meetings. Caldwell said that the reconciliation office had also been "talking to insurgent groups."

That makes sense. Maliki's "new security plan" includes a reformed "de-Baathification" program designed to permit former members of the Baath Party, on an individual basis, to integrate into the new, democratic Iraq.

Former Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi advocated a similar program in 2004, but Allawi's government was appointed, not elected. Saddam Hussein was also still alive. Maliki is an elected prime minister, and his government carried out Saddam's court-ordered death sentence. Maliki has the political capital to implement the program.



The Status Quo
The present military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq is a continuation of a U.S. foreign policy in existence since the end of World War II. Before the Second World War, the U.S. policy towards the rest of the world was limited isolationism. After the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945, America was faced with the new threat of worldwide Communist domination. U.S. Foreign policy shifted from limited isolationism to a new policy aimed at stopping the spread of communism.

The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the consequent liberation of over 50 million people are the result of a continuous U.S. effort to ensure global stability by removing criminal regimes from power. While the threat of Soviet domination is over, the fight in Afghanistan is against a criminal element based in Pakistan; and preventing an unlawful regime from seizing control of territory by force. All 26 NATO countries have troops in Afghanistan. Eleven non-NATO countries have troops stationed in Afghanistan. 25 countries have troops stationed in Iraq.

Pro-mission site by military, for military
If you are in the military, there is a site that has an Appeal For Redress in support of our mission in Iraq.

An Appeal For Redress is an authorized means for active duty military to submit a grievance to Congress. It can be signed by Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard military personnel.

It is authorized by DoD Directive 1325.6 and DoD Directive 7050.6.

To sign it, go to:

Emancipation Proclamation
I have never voted for Bush and I believe that he is a bumbler, however, I also believe that he has correctly identified the looming threat of islamic jihad as a global destabilizing force and has also correctly identified the solution in his SOTU speech when he proclaimed "the future of the world will be determined by free people." Unfortunately, the force and meaning of this statement was lost to chittering media and punditry eggheads who eventually became obsessed with the infamous "16 words" and the lies of Joseph Wilson. Bush's words carry the same meaning and power as Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Essentially, Bush proclaimed emancipation from tyranny for all the world's people.

Sooner would have been better
It would have been nice had the political realities come sooner to Iraq but I suppose they had reasons. In any case, I think we are going to start seeing results.

One item that makes me think we are gaining ground is the shrill and frantic attempts of the Democratic party to end this and now, to defund it by omission. The democrats politicians have placed themselves in the foolish position that anything short of total defeat means political disaster for them. It is unimaginable how people who call themselves patriots could petition for defeat but Murthas slow bleed plan is just such a example.

Knowing the public majority still favors success they refuse to hoist the white flag overtly. Cowards I say. Take a stand Murtha/Pelosi and show your true colors.

The 1960's are over Nancy...

In the mean time, one can hope we are finally on the road to getting this on track. Sure, I think we screwed around to long and Bush was far to optimistic that victory was assured.

However, I think we have all seen the light and when the going gets tough the tough get going.

Let us hope Sadr stays on holiday and Iran gets the hint...

The Global War On Terror
Before President Bush declared The Global War On Terror an atmosphere of fear and appeasement towards Middle Eastern terrorists seemed to exist. The U.S. Military's offensive in Afghanistan turned the tables on Al Qaeda.

I think it is a image he uses to disarm his opponents. While they are deceived by thinking he is stupid he runs a path around them.

The left has underestimated him many times.

the only party that is really looking out for the military and their families are the democrats!

we have to stop the killing and the maiming, not only of our troops, but the poor innocents that lose their life at the hands of the insurgents and the US.

why does everything have to be zero sum? it is always winning or losing. can't we be adults and realize that these are simply childish terms! what is this a playground?

the reality is that we have cause a wholesale genocide in the middle east. inadvertently, we are seeing large scale murder on both sides; sunni and shia. can't you see that we are the problem?

when are we going to see the wisdom of Jack Murtha? he has seen war! he knows what it is like! he knows that there are no real winners in war, simply senseless casualties.

and the right keeps misquoting Murtha. he is not for retreat or surrender. HE IS FOR A REPHASING OUT OF IRAQ!

if it were surrender, don't you think they would be discussing terms of the surrender in congress!

Great Link
Thanks dbt for the great link. Food for much thought.

" Jack Murtha? he has seen war!"
His TX colleague Sam Johnson saw a lot more of the war than Murtha did and so did John McCain.

Both Johnson and McCain do NOT agree with Murtha.

Ironicly, his service record is sealed.

Some clues
"The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on May 12, 2002, reported that “Marine Corps casualty records show that Murtha was injured in 'hostile' actions near Danang, Vietnam, on March 22, 1967, and May 7, 1967.

“In the first incident, his right cheek was lacerated, and in the second, he was lacerated above his left eye. Neither injury required evacuation,” the Post-Gazette reported.

But an Oct. 26, 1994, article in the Herald-Standard quoted Murtha as describing two different injuries.

“I was wounded in the arm with shrapnel from a bullet that hit the motor mount of a helicopter. In the other, my knee was banged up and my arm was banged up when a helicopter was shot down from a very few feet,” Murtha told the Herald-Standard."

Scary sh*t, no doubt, but not what is normally thought of as purple-heart worthy -- just the usual hide rendering one might expect near combat. My uncle survived North Africa, Italy, and the Battle of the Bulge "without a scratch", as he likes to put it, but he most certainly wears the scars of battle. Most warriors don't insist on advertising their wounds on their chest.

Agree, not quite the same as being shot down and tortured for 6 or 7 years.
And especially when one of the tortures is seeing, in person, Jane Fonda yukking it up with NVA.

the wisdom of Jack Murtha?
Indeed. The man was a visionary on Somalia:

"Murtha said he did not ‘see any achievable goal or national security interest in this operation." - Rep. John Murtha on the Conflict in Somalia, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, October 6, 1993

"Representative Murtha, has urged Clinton to withdraw U.S. forces from Somalia" - Rep. John Murtha on the Conflict in Somalia, Associated Press, September 22, 1993

"After 18 U.S. Rangers were killed in the battle of Mogadishu, Murtha visited U.S. forces in Somalia...Afterwards, Murtha said the US had no choice but to pull out completely." - Rep. John Murtha on the Conflict in Somalia, Associated Press, September, 1993

I would say it would be needless to say but many of the idiots here make it mandatory but Somalia was an event noted by OBL as proof that the US was weak and lacking in the will to defend itself or others.

Murtha is just singing the same tune today although he is trying to be sly this time around with his "slow bleed" defunding of the troops. Yes, very patriotic. Here are some other gems of his in reference to the Iraq war:

"Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk... It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America..." - Murtha, from his congressional website, Nov. 17, 2005

Just like Somalia was not in our best interests?

"Well, I say that the fight against Americans began with Abu Ghraib. It began with the invasion of Iraq. That's when terrorism started." - Murtha, Nov. 17, 2005, News Hour with Jim Lehrer

Terrorism started with the invasion of Iraq? Interesting view of history.

"80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops." and "The continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is "uniting the enemy against us." - Murtha, Nov. 17, 2005

Murtha quotes a bogus poll number - only 8 % of Iraqis say that foreign forces are the reason for the country going in the wrong direction. One lie of great many.

"So I've finally come to the conclusion that we've become the enemy, and that there's no alternative." - Murtha, Dec. 12, 2005

Love that support.

Murtha is about as out of touch as one can get. Surprisingly this puts him on par with most of the idiots that inhabit the "peace" wing of the Democrat party.

This poster screams that war is not child's play but then engages in the most childish sloganeering.

retreat by any other name, would still be surrender
they are discussing the terms. The Democrats are for unconditional surrender.

An even better link...

Al-Qaeda menace ‘stronger and more deadly’

Evidence points to the rise of a newer, more potent terrorist threat, says Robert Fox.

Like George Bush?
Oh, hang on, no. I mean like **** Cheney. Damn, not him. Err Rumsfeld?

Like Hillary?
Oh, hang on, no. I mean like Pelosi. Damn, not her. Err Boxer? Surely they have no ability or right to make military decisions because they have never had to put their lives on the line?

This argument is idiotic. Nothing in the Constitution says that the Commander in Chief has to be ex-military. In fact, many of the Founders thought it quite wise to keep the military in the hands of the civilian population. Liberals lose credibility on their anti-war stance, if that were possible, when they dredge up the ol' chicken hawk stupidity.

Note that this includes Bubba. You can hate him for not going to Vietnam (I don't) but you can't say that he had no authority to put our military into harm's way since the Constitution clearly gives him the right to do so.

Their are many reasons to question when, where, and how the military are used but to say that a President has no military option due to no military service is, as I said, idiotic and patently wrong.

Compare apples to apples
Murtha, Johnson and McCain are part of the legislative branch.

Compare rotten fruit with rotten fruit
And as members of the legislative branch their jobs involve *critiquing* government policy, whereas Bush, Cheney and the gang send young men and women to war on the one hand, while having dodged the 'big one' (in any which way) when they were young. That's hypocracy with a capital 'H'.

"the legislative branch their jobs involve *critiquing* government policy, "
No, the legislative branch creates the laws.

Read the Constitution.

FDR should have resigned on 7 DEC 1941
He had never served in the military.

How could he be commander in chief and fight a war?

Like WayneRooney?
None those guys ran on their military record. Bush was an F-102 pilot -- I'd say anyone who strapped one of those on was not a coward. Rumsfeld was a USMC jet pilot - same goes for him. Cheney had a young family and took the same deferment that millions of others did, no shame there.

Compare the war-profiteer, glory-hound, "I'm sorry I put myself in for my undeserved purple hearts", hosebag Murtha to Congressman Sam Johnson and his dignified plea before Congress and the American people. I am sure that 99.9% of our citizens did not see this; this is too strong for the U.S. media to cover ----

There goes a man.

Rumsfled a was a Naval Aviaotor, not a USMC pilot.
"Mr. Rumsfeld attended Princeton University on academic and NROTC scholarships (A.B., 1954) and served in the U.S. Navy (1954-57) as an aviator and flight instructor."

For those in the Navy or USMC, there is a differnce.

Naval aviators, returning from bombing missions over Vietnam, experienced the most stress landing on the deck of a carrier.

My Grandfather served in the Pacific island campaign as a tanker and he never told a story of any kind other than that general description.
We called guys like Kerry and Murtha, PX soldiers when I was in. They bought every award and citation that they could wear at the PX. The true heros aren't around to talk about it. Being a veteran does not make you an expert on military matters or foreign policy. I am living proof.

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