Thursday, October 18, 2007
After The Surge
I've given up following whether the Surge has actually decreased casualties, civilian and military, in Iraq. Because I've honestly lost track of who's pedaling which numbers and how they came up with them. Which essentially means Mission Accomplished for Gen. Petraeus, because if someone who follows these things relatively closely -- as I do -- can't keep up anymore, the confusion must be pretty widespread. And in this case, confusion favors the status quo.
Be that as it may, here's where the rubber really hits the road on the Surge:
...An Army spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the 3rd BCT, which is re-deploying to Fort Hood in December after 15 months in theater, will not be replaced. Instead, soldiers from the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team working in neighboring Salahuddin province will expand their area of operations into Diyala province...
The decision not to replace 3rd BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, signals the beginning of a downsizing in the surge of five additional brigades that began pouring into Iraq in the spring.
It's only logical that the Surge should have had an immediate impact on levels of violence in Iraq, and it's even possible that it actually did. That still doesn't prove that it was a sound strategy. The final judgment will depend on whether the levels of violence remain low now that the surged troops are drawing down.
So don't be surprised to see Petraeus working the refs over the next few months in an effort to inluence American public opinion. Because contrary to what some people might think, that (and not downtown Baghdad) is now the war's center of gravity.