Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What is the true measure of "the surge?"

This has been floating around the Satan-o-sphere for a bit, but I wanted to make sure to link to it. Foreign Policy has an interesting statistic up in its "Terrorism Index" about the surge, and the short version is that a lot of foreign policy experts don't think it's going so well.
The outcome of the war in Iraq may now rest in large part on the success or failure of the so-called surge. Beginning in February, the White House sent an additional 28,000 U.S. troops to Baghdad in an effort to quell the violence there. Securing the capital with overwhelming force is a key component of the anti-insurgency plan developed by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq and the military’s foremost expert on counterinsurgency tactics. It took until June for all the U.S. forces to be put in place, and the number of American troops in Iraq is now at its highest level since 2005. But is Petraeus’s plan working?

The index’s experts don’t think so. More than half say the surge is having a negative impact on U.S. national security, up 22 percentage points from just six months ago. This sentiment was shared across party lines, with 64 percent of conservative experts saying the surge is having either a negative impact or no impact at all. When the experts were asked to grade the government’s handling of the Iraq war, the news was even worse. They gave the overall effort in Iraq an average point score of just 2.9 on a 10-point scale. The government’s public diplomacy record was the only policy that scored lower.
Doubtless daily newspapers are not in the habit of picking up items from Foreign Policy on a regular basis, but this really needs to be considered when say, members of Congress come home from Iraq and stuff. That's not questioning any members' sincerity, it's attempting to see what more broad based academic views might yield as well.

And sadly, the situation in Iraq may not actually be all that good. Still.

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