Monday, January 08, 2007

Surgin' General

[posted by Callimachus]

Joe Katzman at Winds of Change has a thoughtful piece on the "surge" plan currently taking shape. It looks to be, as a lot of us feared, another entry in the "just enough to lose" catalogue that seems to be the practical application of the Bush Doctrine.

He quotes Loren B. Thompson, pithily:

The controversy over what to do about Iraq has congealed into two camps: supporters of the President who lack a clear plan for achieving victory, and critics of the President who have a detailed plan for America's defeat.

In opposition he also finds Victor Davis Hanson, who, come to think of it, sounds a lot like our friend M. Takhallus. Ever seen them in the same room?

Our past errors were not so much dissolving a scattered Iraqi military or even de-Baathification, but rather giving an appearance of impotence, whether in allowing the looting to continue or pulling back from Fallujah or giving a reprieve to the Sadr militias. So, yes, send more troops to Iraq - but only if they are going to be allowed to hunt down and kill vicious and sectarians in a manner that they have not been allowed to previously.

Katzman himself puts it like this:

There are a lot of pitfalls for any would-be Iraq strategy to overcome - but acknowledging the reality of the situation before us and the players in it is the first step.

Unfortunately, both the Baker ISG and Kagan-Keane options have deep blind spots that destroy my confidence in their proposed solutions as anything except a recipe for accelerated defeat.