Surge Signs

Surge Sign:

I don't do day to day news roundups, for the obvious reason that there are a lot of places that have the money and manpower to do it better. Still, I'd like to look at some evidence on a particular question of great moment to all Americans: is the Surge, still incomplete, working?

Our SECDEF says "So far, so good," noting both successes and danger signs.

Illegal militia in Baghdad have stood down, though activity continues in some parts of Iraq. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr remains in Iran, and there are “some signs that his prolonged absence is leading to some fractures in (his militia’s) organization,” Gates said.

Gates also discussed the military’s need for funding to finance the war effort. He said he is concerned about delays in enacting an emergency supplemental bill. Each house of Congress has passed a version of the bill, and both versions contain a timeline for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. President Bush has vowed to veto any bill containing the withdrawal language.

Gates said each of the armed services will be affected by a delay, with the Army being the worst off. The service may be forced to suspend training for deploying forces, repairing equipment and putting in place a civilian hiring freeze. The secretary said a threatened complete cut-off of war “would be dramatic.”
Omar Fadhil reports heavy armor in Baghdad, and mujahedeen messages that promise a great deal more than they deliver. He says friends of his in some parts of the city worry the American surge losing momentum, but that hasn't been his observation.

Rear Admiral Fox says:
There are “some preliminary good signs” that security measures are taking hold in Baghdad, Fox said, as U.S. and Iraqi forces continue to make their presence felt as they operate from 31 joint security stations established across the city.

“Our troops now are living and operating in the districts of Baghdad,” Fox said.

However, it is too early to say if the reduction in violence is permanent, Fox said, noting there have been an increase in the numbers of car-bombings and other spectacular attacks in Baghdad.
That's not surprising in itself -- car bombings, sniper attacks and IEDs are the three forms of combat that the enemy can execute with minimal danger of a successful Coalition reaction. In other words, it's a sign of Surge progress if those types of attacks rise accompanied by a fall in kidnappings and direct terrorism. It means the enemy is being forced to adopt safer tactics in order to survive.

General Petraeus is shopping again.

ABC News reports the Surge is having "a large and positive effect."

Early signs are positive, then. If we can maintain the pressure, it should work. There are dangers, but the serious ones seem chiefly to arise from internal US politics. Military leaders don't seem to be especially worried about what the insurgents will do, because it is already known what they will do, and the military has developed a great deal of expertise over the last several years in countering it.

Our military leadership is worried about the split between the Congress and the President, and what that is going to mean. They aren't worried about defeat, in other words -- they're worried about being undercut at home.

We should all be pressuring our public servants to ensure that does not happen.

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