Friday, February 16, 2007
The Surge's Early Results
One thing it's important to keep in mind over the course of the next few weeks, as the first articles about it (like this one or this one) start appearing, is that in its initial phases the surge in Baghdad is going to have some very positive results. There will be less violence, more visible signs of law & order, and a sense of hope will probably prevail. Bush, I'm sure, will get a bump in the opinion polls, and the Dems will be made to look like party-poopers who'd rather see the plan fail than be wrong about it.
All that's to be expected because it's not in anyone's interest to engage the American and Iraqi forces that are finally, after four years, securing Baghdad. To begin with, most of the violence in Baghdad itself was internecine or sectarian, and had nothing to do with us. Besides that, the Iraqi troops that are taking part in the surge are in many cases simply uniformed wings of the Shiite militias they're supposed to be policing.
But none of that will actually mean that the surge is actually a tactical success. Remember, the Shiites have been waiting a long time for payback. In some cases, like Moqtada al-Sadr's, for generations. Remember, too, that this won't be the first time Moqtada put his guns down. So they can afford to wait some more.
Hell, they might even wait until we eventually do leave Iraq. But then the only thing the surge will have accomplished is to provide some cover for us to save face while we pull up stakes. But that's really all we're fighting for at this point.
Update: Of course, this should come as no surprise either:
Sunni insurgents have been streaming out of Baghdad to escape the security crackdown, carrying the fight to neighboring Diyala province where direct fire attacks on Americans have nearly doubled since last summer, U.S. soldiers say.
So there you have it. The insurgents are doing what insurgents do when counterinsurgents do what counterinsurgents do. That wasn't so hard, now, was it?