1.08.2007

The Surge

Bush is preparing to work Capitol Hill to build support to surge 20,000 (?) US troops into Iraq.
"But advisers to the president also believe that the public is willing to give Mr. Bush another chance — especially if he puts forth a policy that is heavy on specifics. The White House is also mindful of polls showing that while the public wants the situation to improve in Iraq, it does not necessarily favor immediate withdrawal.

They're going to cast it as a choice between withdrawal and surge," said one Republican strategist who is close to the White House. "The public is not for immediate withdrawal or even a quick withdrawal, but they're not for the status quo. I think they feel as if the public is more likely to support the president's position, which is putting a stake in the ground in Iraq and saying we're going to try to win." The speech is expected to contain a series of goals for the Iraqi government.
(emphasis my own)
Wow. A policy heavy on specifics AND goals for the Iraqi government? Is it possible to send this material back to the summer of 2005 when it would have been useful? We were increasing security in Baghdad for elections, and that would've been an awesome time to have specific policy and goals.

This administration has always reminded me of the frats/jocks in College that were always lagging FAR, FAR behind in their work, but were always allowed to turn it in late. Except now this President is in a different class, with a teacher that is not accepting HS Freshman-level papers. And now this Administration is trying to play 'catch-up' as fast as they can. That is why we are stuck with two-year old solutions for two-year old problems.

Goals for the Iraqi government? The head of the government wants to quit before his term is over, and a large number of the government live in any other country except for Iraq. The problems facing this country are mature, dangerous, and complex. The US government does not have any incentives to offer the Iraqi government to do the work to meet these goals.

Specific policy? I'm interested to see where this goes. This Administration has relied solely on ideological rhetoric and ad hominem stereotypes to define themselves, their work, and the world around them. Yes, of course they pepper their speeches with a few metrics and statistics, but there's very little in terms of substance. I'll adopt a 'wait-and-see' attitude on this one.

And finally, this is my favorite aspect of the reported surge: $1 Billion for Reconstruction work. This might be the definition of the phrase "too little, too late". In addition, we've spent billions on Reconstruction anyway. However, now this time we are going to let the Iraqi people "help" rebuild their own country and share on the Reconstruction money. Gosh, maybe that's the reason why they haven't enjoyed this whole experience so far...

It's hard to say exactly how I feel about the surge itself. Obviously, I think aspects of it are well overdue. We've needed to hand some type of goal or timetable to the Iraqi government for a long time. Other than that, we've done all of the rest of this before. Perhaps it is a good idea to make one last presentation and 'surge' before we withdraw, but I haven't seen convincing military support of it. Is this Bush's last grab at the ring, or is he trying to ensure that this is escalated so high that it can't possibly end before he leaves?

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