In essence, I think John McCain has the right attitude to the surge at this time. He made the following points on MTP which I agree with (this is from memory):However, I agree with this Sullivan reader's observation that the successful surge won't make much of a difference:
- General Petraeus has a genuinely new plan for Iraq which insists on gaining control over Bagdad and Anbar province
- General Casey's previous plan of slowly transferring control to Iraqi forces was ill conceived from the beginning and has been failing for over a year now
- Bush deserves a lot of critisism for not realizing that Casey's plan was failing earlier and taking steps to correct it
- General Petraeus has very solid credentials for this type of warfare (among other things, he helped oversee the military's new manual on counterinsurgency) and expert military opinion think his plan has a significant chance of success
- Anyone who opposes the "surge" should advocate a clear alternative strategy, which most Democrats don't seem to be doing
I don't have any doubt - and really, never did - that increasing the use of (and apparently, more properly deploying) American troops would reduce violence in Iraq. And I think that although Bush did this belatedly and only in response to political pressure he deserves (along with Gates and Petraeus) to be applauded for that.
But what does that have to do with the goals of the war?
As I understand it, we don't have a military goal - we have a hope that the Iraqis are able to put together a democratic government that is capable of unifying and securing the country. That has nothing to do with whether there is a lot or not a lot of violence in Iraq.