Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Petraeus on Iraq: Surges Take Time

For months we have been waiting with anticipation for General David Petraeus's testimony on Iraq. Would he tell us that the surge, a plan that he was one of the principal architects of, was a failure or a brilliant success? No one had any idea what his verdict would be on how good a job he has been doing at executing his own plan. Yesterday, in testimony in front of a congressional committee and in an exclusive interview on Fox News, Petraeus finally gave us his objective analysis. The surge, he said unexpectedly, has been a surprising success and he praised the progress he has made in Iraq.

Despite the fact that he would know better than anyone how the surge was working, since he was directly responsible for carrying it out, Democrats were scrambling to try to discredit him. They pointed to a report from the very biased nonpartisan General Accounting Office that contradicted his testimony that there was progress in Iraq. And they expressed impatience that the surge wasn't working fast enough.

But surges take time, Petraeus pointed out. Did anyone really expect that the surge would bring a rapid improvement or a sudden onrush of success? Did anyone say that the surge would be quick, moving like advancing waves or an unexpected increase in electric current? Surges, of course, don't work that way, as every Democrat should know. Surges need to be given time to grow before we know if they are effective. It might be five to ten years before the surge has run its course and we know if it has ultimately achieved its goals. The alternative, as Petraeus warned, is to be "rushing to failure" in Iraq.

The ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, reiterated Petraeus's points and tried to explain to Democrats how surges work. "The process will not be quick," he said. "It will be uneven, punctuated by setbacks as well as achievements, and it will require substantial U.S. resolve and commitment. There will be no single moment at which we can claim victory; any turning point will likely only be recognized in retrospect."

Democrats seem to think that a surge just happens overnight. In fact, the surge has barely begun. As President Bush pointed out last month, the surge didn't actually begin when he announced it back in January. It really started in August and is still in its "early stages." Since then it has been building slowly with deliberate speed. In fact, the surge might not even really get going until Bush is out of office or until he is dead. How can anyone claim the surge has failed when it is just getting started?

Apparently, Democrats believe that the only way they can score political points is to redefine the terms of the debate by constantly moving the goal posts or even rewriting the dictionary and changing the definition of surge. Nothing the impotent and impatient Democrats say or do is going to convince the President or General Petraeus to force the surge to work more rapidly or to cut it off prematurely. The surge is going to take years and years to finish surging and Democrats are just going to have to be patient.

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Anonymous said...

So, what IS the actual goal of this Iraq thing? What needs to be achieved to "win"? The WMDs are gone, Saddam is dead, there is apparently a democratic government there. Why are the troops still there? What do they hope to achieve? Sorry for sounding so serious, but no one seems to know what the whole point of it is.

Anonymous said...


mw said...

"Nothing the impotent and impatient Democrats say or do is going to convince the President or General Petraeus to force the surge to work more rapidly or to cut it off prematurely." - js

Premature surge would only decrease the satisfaction the Iraqi's experience. It is important that the surge be long and strong until the Iraqi political process has come along. I only hope that General Petraeus is taking precautions and practicing safe surge.

Hackwhackers said...

Perhaps by the distant time surging is complete, Petraeus will also know if America's safer as a result.

Anonymous said...

The military officers in Iraq have been ordered to a duo mission, security for the population and assist when possible in rebuilding the inner physical structure of the country. This is the reason dozens of companys have over 150k non-Iraq civilian workers building most of these. That is part of the mission security for the military. If you take the military out, you must also remove these workers for their own protection.

Mission statement now. Get Iraq stable so they can stand on their own feet, no matter what the political structure, just be able to take a step forward. Petraeus is an honorable military leader that is loyal to the military, not the White House. He has spent his life taking care of his troops and knows how best to do that, I personally know.

Friðvin said...

I don't think it's a matter of the "Democrats" needing to be patient. There are plenty of Republicans who are impatient, and what about the independent voters?

Politics and 2008 aside, the "surge" is just a footnote in this debacle. This war never should have happened, and apparently it may never end.

Miss Cellania said...

So, in effect, we have no new information at all. It is what they say it is, no matter what the evidence looks like.

Anonymous said...

Ah, thanks for clearing that up, Doc.
So, I guess GWB was wrong.It's not Viet Nam.it's Northern Ireland.
I'm glad to hear Petraeus looks after his men, but I don't think you'll like being in someone else's civil war for 30+ years.

Anonymous said...

Surge? Splurge! Supersize the surge by sending all of the 30% deadenders who still approve of Shrub and his war to Iraq just in time for fall.

(With respect, Mr. Swift - post more oftern! You are hilarious. And I know Amazon has a bunch of new books for you to review.)

Jay said...

lol..as soon as i read this i was sucked in by the title of the post below!

Kilroy_60 said...

Are you serious when you say that you think people did not know what the verdict of the good General was going to be before he testified?

I think we both know better, eh.

There are two problematic things with this situation. More to the point, only two I'm going to take the time to mention.

There is no "surge" in Iraq. There was an escalation in the amount of troops in country. Best to call it like it is than trying to manipulate the truth.

Secondly, this isn't an issue about Democrats and Republicans. Republications are against the war in Iraq. Americans are against the war in Iraq. The one person who is not against the war is the man who got us in it and the people who are willing to follow him regardless of whatever damage he's doing to the country.

That, my friend, is the the truth. I don't in any way stand against you stating your position. All that I ask is for you to be honest about it, something that George W. Bush does not do.

El Tiburon said...

A surge, by definition, is an extremely slow and plodding movement not unlike that of a tired old man walking up a flight of stairs.

What? That's actually the definition of Fred Thompson?


Anonymous said...

Now come on. Wouldn't you like to have a nice prolonged surge rather than a sort of wham-bam-thank-you-mam kind of thing? Of course you would.

liquiddaddy said...

Mr. Swift,

I agree. What were DemocRATS thinking?

I think the situation is analogous to sex. A "surge" is more tantric and meant to last a long time to the benefit of both partners, culminating in a powerful explosion of gratification, followed by a successful withdrawal. Hopefully, the parties don't feel "weird" about it later. Candy and flowers are optional.

Anything faster than a surge results in completing the mission prematurely, early withdrawal and its attendant shame, lost prestige, and disappointed partners.

Petraeus is a giant cock ring, firming clinging to the nation's fundiment, bravely choking off any urgency to leave our partner's behind.

God Bless America!


www.almeria-3d.com said...

For my part every person must go through this.

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