Surging Towards What?

By Anthony | September 10th, 2007 | 9:49 pm

General David Petraeus testified before the House Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees today:

President Bush ordered nearly 30,000 additional troops to Iraq in January as part of a campaign to pacify Baghdad and its surrounding provinces. Petraeus said that campaign has largely met its military goals, reducing sectarian killings by more than 50 percent nationwide and by more than 80 percent in Baghdad.

So according to Petraeus, sending in more troops has helped, noticeably reducing casualties. Makes sense: More troops equals greater security and control. So where do we go from here?

The 30,000 additional troops deployed to Iraq in January could come home by next July

If more troops equals greater security and control, then it stands to reason that – all things being equal – removing those 30,000 additional troops is going to result in less security and control, putting us right back where we started. Something else in the equation needs to change, and it’s going to have to change within the next 10 months.

It’s true that there seems to be some localized political progress, with tribal leaders taking the reins. But is 10 months enough time to turn a patchwork of tribal initiatives and a feckless national government into something more cohesive?

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