View Full Version : Why Congress Should Embrace the Surge

05-01-2007, 08:38 AM
1 May NY Times commentary - Why Congress Should Embrace the Surge (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/01/opinion/01west.html?_r=1&oref=slogin) by Owen West.

When the civilian hierarchy fails them, soldiers tend to seek solace in Clausewitz’s observation that war is an extension of politics. But in 2005 and 2006 the reverse was true in Iraq: the battle churned in place, steadily eroding the administration’s credibility and America’s psyche, while most politicians stood on the sidelines, content to hurl insults at one another until the battlefield offered a clear political course.

What was most remarkable, however, was the military’s inability to grab the reins and articulate a realistic war plan for Iraq. At home, recruiting, supply and deployment crises were solved; but in Iraq the generals continued to offer assessments of the fight that were as obviously inaccurate as those trumpeted by the politicians. The goal was to put Iraqi forces in the lead, but as a consequence, large-scale battlefield adaptation was scarce.

Today the civil-military relationship has righted itself, yet soldiers like me who believe that Iraq can be stabilized face a bitter irony. On one hand, the military is finally making meaningful adjustments to the complex fight. On the other, the politicians are finally asserting themselves. The tragedy is that the two groups are going in opposite directions...

John T. Fishel
05-01-2007, 02:34 PM
Major/Mr. West's article is interesting and his proposed solution is reasonable - with one exception. It will take longer, even in the best of circumstances, for the Iraqis to recruit and train the forces necessary to make his US force structure effective. I don't know what a realistic planning timeline is but we won't be drawing down combat units in the next year unless we are admitting defeat. That would be a bad idea.