Monday, December 18, 2006

The Problem with the Surge Mentality 

So the latest Bush brainstorm for victory in Iraq is to surge the force level, adding several thousand more Army and Marine ground troops to stabilize Baghdad.

In poker, this is called "throwing good money after bad." It's what a fool does when he's down and losing, but needs to throw more money into the pot, betting on a losing hand, because he just can't bring himself to admit he's blown it, stand up, and walk away from the table.

There are 3 problems with the "surge" mentality.

First, as Colin Powell and others have noted, there are no additional troops to be had. So the only way you can achieve a "surge" in troop levels is to delay the rotation of troops that are in Iraq already, while speeding the arrival of units scheduled go there (again!).

This is a short-term fix. It cannot be sustained. It buys a few months of increased troop level. You pay the devil on the back side, with worn out personnel and equipment. As Powell noted, the active army is broken. There isn't enough slack in the system to continue to provide troops and equipment at the rate that the civil war in Iraq is eating them up.

Second, as Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) pointed out, the enemy in Iraq knows the US forces can't sustain surge force levels for more than a few months. Classic insurgency strategy says you don't attack strength, you attack weakness. Insurgents can simply wait until the US begins to draw down its forces again. In the mean time, they make their plans for a long hot summer.

Finally, an increase in US forces will add to the perception by Iraqis that the US is an occupying force in their country. It increases the possibility of incidents that will fuel Iraqi hostility toward American troops. When bad things happen, as they always do in any kind of war, the insurgents' will use their superior propaganda networks to create more opposition to the American occupation.

More American troops in Iraq is not only likely to fuel hostility toward those troops, it will create a target-rich environment for those who would them harm. That is a very callous thing to do to those who have volunteered to serve.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Blogistan Revelation: 

Digby is a woman. Who knew? Maybe I'm a little slow.

Anyway, she is hosting a teriffic discussion with Tom Schaller, author of Whisling Past Dixie, over at Firedog Lake.


Trouble in Tauscherland 

Kos notes (check out the picture - it's definitely worth a thousand words) that Bay Area congressperson Ellen Tauscher (CA-10) is about to find out what netroots politics is all about.

In case anyone hasn't been paying attention, the 2008 election cycle has already begun.


Amanda B Fine 

Good to see something nice on the internets for a change. And she gets big points for associating with a DFH*.

* Dirty Fucking Hippie


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