Andrew Bacevich in WaPo’s Sunday Outlook:
In only one respect has the surge achieved undeniable success: It has ensured that U.S. troops won’t be coming home anytime soon. This was one of the main points of the exercise in the first place. As AEI military analyst Thomas Donnelly has acknowledged with admirable candor, "part of the purpose of the surge was to redefine the Washington narrative," thereby deflecting calls for a complete withdrawal of U.S. combat forces. Hawks who had pooh-poohed the risks of invasion now portrayed the risks of withdrawal as too awful to contemplate. But a prerequisite to perpetuating the war — and leaving it to the next president — was to get Iraq off the front pages and out of the nightly news.
General Petraeus on NBC this morning:
We think we won’t know that we’ve reached a turning point until we’re six months past it. We have repeatedly said that there is no lights at the end of the tunnel that we’re seeing. We’re certainly not dancing in the end zone or anything like that.
Dubya and the right-wing punditocracy tell us that The Surge is working like gangbusters, but General BuzzkillUs says we must wait another Friedman Unit to make sure the Surgey Magic is really working. Who should we believe?
Answer: None of above.
The Kristol Krazies are trying to convince us that the invasion and the subsequent surge were brilliant strategeric moves by the Steely Decider-In-Chief Who Can Do No Wrong and should therefore be continued indefinitely, while Petraeus feigns uncertainty to pre-empt calls to declare victory and bring the troops home.
Both narratives are completely false. The Surge has not come even remotely close to achieving its original stated objective, which was to secure political reconciliation in the Iraqi government (remember that?), and there’s nothing uncertain about it. As Bacevich says, the real objective is to justify keeping troops in Iraq forever, or at least until Iraq becomes Not Dubya’s Problem.
*For those unfamiliar with advanced physics, the Friedman Unit is a measure of quantum time governed by the Rumsfeld Uncertainty Principle, meaning that it can last anywhere from six months to infinity, depending on whether an observer is present.