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Thread: What is the "Surge?"

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullmoose Bailey View Post
    Yesterday & other days our C-in-c used the term so it does pass into history. I wonder who will be identified most with it in history; McCain, Petraeus, Bush, Pelosi ???
    Perhaps I am overly optimistic, but I think the fighting men and women will be most identified with it, as they should be.

  2. #42
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default COIN Porn, REMF writing, or brilliant documentary

    Kim Kagan just released this documentary titled Understanding the Surge (H/T Andrew Exum). COL Gentile describes it as COIN porn. I admit that I was a fan of her earlier Iraq Reports, and I have not read her book. I thought she did a brilliant job of interpreting the available data at the time; however, this documentary seems very weak on analysis. I felt dirty after watching it.

    Here's my reaction,

    It took us four years to comprehend that the various insurgencies were conducting classic Mao protracted war- "clandestine organization, psychological preparation of the people, expansion of control, and consolidation of power." It's a failure of leadership on many levels that it took this long. Kim doesn't even acknowledge it in her documentary, and I would submit that many leaders still don't get it. She just shows the by-product of a Phase III civil war- lots of people were dying, and it was bad. Duh, but it didn't happen over night. During my one staff tour in 2005, it was increasingly apparent to many leaders on the ground that a civil war had sparked long before the mosque in Samarra was blown. Some acted- Remember McMasters and Tal Afar?

    After we finally defined the situation for what it was NOT what we wished it to be, we employed a counter-strategy of population control measures, increased kinetics targeting leaders, facilitators, and bomb-makers, denial of safe-havens, destruction of training camps, and turning reconciliables. Additionally, GEN Patraeus and Ryan Crocker pressured the Iraqi Gov't to govern.
    Am I off here? What are others' thoughts?

  3. #43
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Kagan's TV

    MikeF asked:
    Am I off here? What are others' thoughts?
    I thought it was over-hyped although the incredibly short interview clips did have some interest.

    davidbfpo

  4. #44
    Council Member jkm_101_fso's Avatar
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    It was kind of hokey and broad-brushed over many important details of the Surge beyond the tactical changes that were made.

    I do like that history channel guy...maybe that's why it reminded me of a H.C. show, which I enjoy.

    To a layman that knows nothing of what happened, it's probably appropriate.
    Sir, what the hell are we doing?

  5. #45
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkm_101_fso View Post
    It was kind of hokey and broad-brushed over many important details of the Surge beyond the tactical changes that were made. I do like that history channel guy...maybe that's why it reminded me of a H.C. show, which I enjoy. To a layman that knows nothing of what happened, it's probably appropriate.
    Y'all made some good points. David is right, the interviews are good. Guess I have to learn to step back and take a deep breathe on these type of things.

  6. #46
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    SSQ, Summer 2010: Tribal Dynamics and the Iraq Surge
    ....No one has argued that the influx of additional combat forces was the sole factor responsible for the reduction in violence in Iraq. The conventional wisdom is that the surge, working in combination with other causal factors, resulted in an improved situation. Some, however, question what the surge has actually accomplished, arguing that while it worked tactically from a military perspective, it failed strategically from a political perspective. The objective of this research is to gain an understanding of why that is the case by addressing three key questions. First, since scholars and subject matter experts have identified other causal factors besides the surge, could there be another? Second, is it possible that this “dynamic” factor, acting as a top-level governing element, directly affected the behavior of the others? Third, could this top-level “dynamic” factor be the primary reason the surge succeeded tactically but failed politically and strategically? Preliminary analysis suggests this could be the case. After a more in-depth evaluation, one factor did emerge that fit the category of a “top-level governing element,” that being the principle of Iraqi tribal dynamics......

  7. #47
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    I take a shot at this question in my recent SSI study.

  8. #48
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I take a shot at this question in my recent SSI study.
    A must/should read, but renamed by me as The Surge: All those unparked cars are parked along the sidewalk.

  9. #49
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    A must/should read, but renamed by me as The Surge: All those unparked cars are parked along the sidewalk.

    But, but, but.....

    Actually, I had to fight this battle with my organization. I deliberately chose to NOT name it that to make the point that I believe that the "surge"--the troop increase--gets way more attention than it deserves.

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