- Nov 22, 2003
Ugly, but probably fair analysis. Lots of links:
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Well, somebody's afraid of the surge
By TigerHawk at 1/28/2007 12:52:00 PM
There are, I think, two groups of people who are afraid that the "surge" might work.
I spent the morning straightening up the house with various Sunday talk shows on in the background. The conviction with which Democratic Senators aver that the "surge" will only make matters worse is startling. They do not explain how it will make matters worse, only that it is inevitable that it will. While I myself am far from certain that the planned changes in tactics, commanders, force levels, rules of engagement and tone with the Iraqi government will work, I do not understand the downside. We are always free to adopt the opposition's idea, which is to withdraw at least from the fight, if not Iraq. If Iraq is in fact the geopolitical disaster that most Democrats (and no few Republicans) claim that it is, it seems to me that the incremental geopolitical risk in the surge is small.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer seemed to give away the game -- at least implicitly -- on "Meet the Press." He quite obviously does not want the next election cycle to be "about" Iraq. One gets the sense that this sentiment is even more pronounced among the Democrats who will be vying for their party's presidential nomination. It is easy to see why: the problem of Iraq will be nothing but trouble for leading Democrats. The party activists who hold sway during the primary season will demand that candidates embrace the so-called "anti-war" agenda without reservation, but if Democrats do that too enthusiastically they will remind voters that their party has been all about defeat since 1972. Since none of them want to be caught in that Liebermanesque trap, leading Democrats are desperate for Iraq to be off the table by next fall.
From the perspective of Democratic political strategy, the worst possible result would be partial success -- for conditions in Iraq to improve significantly and palpably, but not decisively. That would guarantee that Iraq would remain a central theme in the 2008 campaign, not just as fodder for attacks on Republican "incompetence," but as a problem to be solved in the future, and that would be a nightmare for the leading Democrats. This is the reason, I believe, why at least some leading Democrats are so obviously willing the surge to fail.
Interestingly, the enemy also seems to be afraid of the surge. Under the headline, "Death squad chieftains flee to beat Baghdad surge," the Times of London reported not only that the new plan was motivating "death squad chieftains" to leave the country, but that Iran was sheltering the enemy:
DEATH SQUAD leaders have fled Baghdad to evade capture or killing by American and Iraqi forces before the start of the troop surge and security crackdown in the capital.This is far from unalloyed good news -- since these bastards have gone to Iran, we can't kill them and they will live to fight again. As the linked article makes clear, Prime Minister al-Maliki may have even encouraged them to flee. But scaring the death squad commanders out of the country is a good intermediate step. With the leadership gone, perhaps morale at the lower echelons will suffer, and perhaps the Iraqi army will be able to make some progress in restoring the order that is necessary to strengthen the central government.
A former senior Iraqi minister said most of the leaders loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical anti-American cleric, had gone into hiding in Iran.
Among those said to have fled is Abu Deraa, the Shiite militia leader whose appetite for sectarian savagery has been compared to that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, who was killed last year.
There is an additional advantage in this, and that is in the "outing" of Iran. It is, of course, no surprise to anybody who is even remotely aware that the Islamic Republic would provide sanctuary to somebody with an apparently unquenchable "appetite for sectarian savagery." Even under the "reformist" government of John Kerry's new greatest fan, Iran was ecumenical in its willingness to do so. Nevertheless, there remain a great many people in the world -- including United States Senators -- who believe that the perfidy of Iran is an invention of the Bush administration. If the surge clarifies that little ambiguity for the next president of the United States, it will at least have served the purpose of defining the threat.