Seems like the current plan in play is to increase troop numbers over there for a “surge” to try to win. However, if all that is going to change is that more troops are going to go over to try to police various Iraqi municipalities, then this isn’t going to work. The military isn’t a police force, but it seems to me that they are being used as such, and essentially have been for going on at least two years now.
Professor Victor David Hanson has some changes that need to be implemented for our efforts to change – one wonders why they haven’t been already:
[i]Putting Iran and Syria on notice that we will bomb terrorists flocking across their borders.
Give an ultimatum to militia heads, especially Moqtadar Sadr, to disband or face annihilation from the United States.
Expand the rules of engagement in all matters dealing with IEDs, with a shoot on sight rule concerning anyone found implanting or aiding such efforts.
Enlarge the planned Iraqi security forces to near 400,000, and embed far more Americans in those units.
Recalibrate the ratio of support to combat troops, so that we don?t simply create bigger compounds to facilitate larger troop levels to end up with more stationary and more numerous targets?and ever more enclaves of Americans behind thousands of acres of bermed reserves.
So spell out the mission, the new rules of engagement, and then, and only then, surge?if need be? more troops. [/i]
Does anyone else have any thoughts on what needs to change over there for our efforts to be successful?[/quote]
I’ve come to think a “surge” is just throwing good money after bad, sunk costs would be the economist’s term wouldn’t it? 30,000-50,000 troops would make a minimal impact, and the prospects of keeping them there for long are not good (see some of General Schoomaker’s latest comments). Bill Lind lays out some of the reasons why a surge is a bad idea, starting with the fact that the Iraqi state no longer exists (this is a key realization, if it is in fact true, and I think all the evidence points that way):
Also, I would take military wisdom from Victor Davis Hanson with a huge grain of salt. I respect his qualifications and what little of his serious historical work I’ve read, but he writes some asinine stuff when it comes to Iraq and “the war on terror.” Key example being the old World War II comparison. His points above:
Bombing Syrian and Iranian terrorists “flocking” into Iraq would have a minimal impact, because they are a tiny percentage of the forces arrayed against us, and anyway, terrorists aren’t conventional military formations, easily seen and targeted from the air.
We can’t give the militias an ultimatum, because the Mahdi Army, Badr Brigades and the rest are integral parts of the government, the only “friends” we have left in Iraq, not counting the Kurds.
Enlarge the Iraqi security forces and embed more Americans? Yeah, that’s been the plan for a couple years now.
He’s absolutely right about the ratio of support to combat troops, a point Lind touches on, I have a buddy in Diwaniya (the “safe” Shiite south) who’s told me horror stories about that, but getting the Army out of its FOB mentality is an enormous undertaking, and will happen, if it does, far too late to change what’s happening on the ground in Iraq. Professionals talk logistics, as the old canard goes.