Spinning Off Pieces of the Surge

Statements such as this suggest that Obama (probably among many Democrats and some Republicans) either doesn’t think comprehensively when it comes to strategy or is anxious to diminish America’s importance as an agent for change:

… the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” contended that the decline was brought about not just by the U.S. troop increase, but also by a combination of factors, including Iraqi Sunnis’ decision to turn against al-Qaida.

The Sunnis’ turn was hardly independent of a confidence that American troops were there in force (and for the duration) for assistance.

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Johng
Johng
12 years ago

True, except that they made the decision almost a year before the surge began, and they had far less help than the year next. What Obama said is correct, and it has been clear for some time that McCain is clearly not the expert he claims to be, and has far less knowledge than Obama of, what’s that word — yes! — facts!

Pragamatist
Pragamatist
12 years ago

Or, as many observers have noted, the military’s policy of paying the Sunnis to fight al-Qaida resulted in the Anbar Awakening. No doubt, the soon to be deployed surge played a major role, but it was hardly the only factor. Why is Obama’s nuanced view of the mulitple factors that likely cause a complicated effect like reduced violence so troubling for you?
Is it that you prefer McCain’s simple explanation of more troops, end of story? That seems a very naive view of how the world works in complicated situations. But all of this surge debate is really a side show.
The debate should be about the decision to start this war in the first place. On that, the two candidates’ positions are clear. And on that point, the American people overwhelmingly support Obama. So it is no surprise that McCain focuses not on that point, but on the “surge”.
As for the other relevant question — what to do now — it seems that McCain (and Maliki, and Bush) now agrees with Obama that a withdrawal in the coming year or so is reasonable. Seems like Obama was right on the two questions that matter the most.

OldTimeLefty
12 years ago

A hearty second to johng and Pragmatist. Justin, you keep looking at only a piece of the situation, and not surprisingly, only the piece that you like. If you had any integrity you’d present the full, or at least a fuller picture. Couple this with your pic of Obama with a cigarette in his mouth and then your recant or admission to disguising the truth. Lie (prevaricate, exaggerate) to make a point and then recant. What a cheap trick! It only goes to show that you have no real argument to make. Give us a little Sgt. Friday and just stick to the facts.
OldTimeLefty

David
David
12 years ago

There are beneficiaries of $4 gasoline that we Americans may want to consider and see as the proverbial gift horse. Iraq , with newfound wealth from soaring oil prices, is showing signs of stabilization. Iraqi citizens, through no fault of their own, have endured a hellish life of war, violence, and deprivation. Finally they are seeing some improvements in the most basic of human needs. The Iraqi government, with its new oil wealth, has begun asserting itself with its neighbors like Iran and also with the US . Could this presage an end to American military involvement in Iraq ? A stronger and wealthier Iraq could be a major factor in regional politics, and, in doing so would aid American interests. Not the narrow agenda of the present administration but the wider interests of the American people. Recent reports that the major western oil companies have signed agreements with Iraq confirm the fact that $4 or maybe $5 gas is the inevitable price for peace.
I don’t think the surge had much to do with the present situation. The solution in Iraq was always going to be political- ie local- maybe corrupt- incomplete.

Richard
Richard
12 years ago

Must reading on Iraq, the surge, and the meaning of everything. It is from the Los Angeles Times, so some of you might want to get out whatever it is you use to ward off evil (liberal)spirits. You could put Fox News on in the background! But please read, and reconsider your knee-jerkedness. Because too many have died for too little. Yes, what follows are 2 different points of view! Yes, you are still reading Anchor Rising! DUST-UP Are we winning in Iraq? David B. Rivkin says all signs point to a dramatic turnaround for U.S. forces. Joseph Cirincione says the war has been among the greatest disasters in U.S. history. July 28, 2008 Today’s question: Violence in Iraq has dropped sharply. Can we finally say we’re winning the war? Under what circumstances can the U.S. declare victory? All week, Rivkin and Cirincione debate Iraq, unilateral war and more. The U.S. can win, but Iraq isn’t the only battlefield Point: David B. Rivkin The situation in Iraq has improved dramatically as a result of the surge, innovative counterinsurgency tactics and improved outreach by U.S. forces to local elites. The level of violence is drastically reduced, and so is the U.S. casualty rate. Al Qaeda in Iraq is reeling. Its leadership has been decimated; its ability to mount major operations has been considerably reduced; and, according to Al Qaeda’s own internal communications, the terrorist organization is having serious trouble attracting and motivating new recruits. Further, Al Qaeda’s plans to create a state in Iraq’s Sunni heartland are in shambles, and its reputation for prowess in the jihad has suffered. That so many of Iraq’s Sunni tribes have allied themselves with U.S. forces in a movement dubbed the “Sunni Awakening” strikes a particularly severe blow to Al Qaeda’s attempt to pose as… Read more »

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