Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Conventional Wisdom

William Arkin had this to say at the end of his discussion of the Petraeus testimony:

The good news -- and it is good news -- is that the surge has been successful enough that the armed forces have enough capability on the ground to at least maintain the stalemate until the next commander-in-chief comes into office.
Arkin is no dummy and no fool. He's a past officer and well connected to the military establishment. Yet he falls for the same myth, namely that there is a direct relationship between less violence in Iraq, and the "surge".

Go give this article a read. The surge has had impact. But the main reason the violence is less is due to two key factors. One, the U.S. military has been bribing the Sunni's to not resist. And I can only guess what the Sunni's are doing with the cash. Two, al Sadr agreed to a cease-fire in order to better position himself in the political realm. Since Maliki decided to put a stick in the hornets nest, twelve American soldiers have died (over the past several days) and violence is again on the upswing, back to pre-surge levels.

The fact is that the Iranians, al Sadr, and Sunni insurgents are far more important factors in Iraq than the U.S. To claim that American troops strength is the cause of anything other than further flaming unrest in Iraq is nuts. And achieving a "stalemate" with 140,000 American soldiers put in serious harms way is also nuts.

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