Don't forget that 'Surge' is just another word for unsustainable escalation.
From the Washington Post:
The debate over sending more U.S. troops to Iraq intensified yesterday as President Bush signaled that he will listen but not necessarily defer to balky military officers, while Gen. John P. Abizaid, his top Middle East commander and a leading skeptic of a so-called surge, announced his retirement.Because George W. Bush is a master tactician with decades of military experience, a feel for the situation on the ground in Iraq, a clear understanding of the enemy (enemies) and, above all, a history of making good decisions.
At an end-of-the-year news conference, Bush said he agrees with generals "that there's got to be a specific mission that can be accomplished" before he decides to dispatch an additional 15,000 to 30,000 troops to the war zone. But he declined to repeat his usual formulation that he will heed his commanders on the ground when it comes to troop levels.
Bush sought to use the 52-minute session, held in the ornate Indian Treaty Room in a building adjacent to the White House, to sum up what he called "a difficult year for our troops and the Iraqi people" and reassure the American public that "we enter this new year clear-eyed about the challenges in Iraq." Asked about his comment to The Washington Post this week that the United States is neither winning nor losing the war, Bush pivoted forward. "Victory in Iraq is achievable," he said."Do something different even without a defined purpose" is Pentagon-speak for 'Deploy more troops for domestic political gain.' And, understandably, the Generals at the Pentagon aren't real keen on the idea of sending more men and women into harms way so that the President's approval numbers go up.
The tension between the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff over the proposed troop increase has come to dominate the administration's post-election search for a new strategy in Iraq. The uniformed leadership has opposed sending additional forces without a clear mission, seeing the idea as ill-formed and driven by a desire in the White House to do something different even without a defined purpose.
Unfortunately, those same Generals don't seem to have the ability to actually stop this from happening. Every time they say 'this won't happen on my watch' they solve the problem by ending 'their watch' and retiring.
Also notable in Bush's new position of not letting Generals decide how to fight this war. We've gone from Generals deciding how many troops they need in Iraq to The Decider deciding for them.
Bush has traditionally paid public deference to the generals, saying any decisions on moving U.S. forces in the region would depend on their views. At a Chicago news conference in July, for instance, Bush said he would yield to Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Iraq commander.The problem with this is that George W. Bush seems to think that 'winning' is both a mission and a strategy. More from the article:
"General Casey will make the decisions as to how many troops we have there," Bush said, adding: "He'll decide how best to achieve victory and the troop levels necessary to do so. I've spent a lot of time talking to him about troop levels. And I've told him this: I said, 'You decide, General.' "
By yesterday, however, Bush indicated that he will not necessarily let military leaders decide, ducking a question about whether he would overrule them. "The opinion of my commanders is very important," he said. "They are bright, capable, smart people whose opinion matters to me a lot." He added: "I agree with them that there's got to be a specific mission that can be accomplished with the addition of more troops before I agree on that strategy."
A senior aide said later that Bush would not let the military decide the matter. "He's never left the decision to commanders," said the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so Bush's comments would be the only ones on the record. "He is the commander in chief. But he has said he will listen to those commanders when making these decisions. That hasn't changed."[Bolds mine.]Well, then. I guess that clears Donald Rumsfeld.
This post isn't meant to be (just) and commentary on a Washington Post story. My point is that Bush is incapable of winning this war because he thinks that if he just does what he's been doing a little bit harder he'll be victorious.
Bush's goal to remake the Middle East as a region full of 'freedom and democracy' was doomed as soon as he chose to do it by invading Iraq. It's like saying 'I'm going to remake this piggy bank as a bank vault' and choosing a hammer as your only tool.
Bush's goal to create a stable and secular Iraq was doomed for many reasons, not the least of which was he didn't understand Iraq. (And because he didn't send enough troops for the occupation, because he disbanded the Iraqi Army, because he purged the government of low-level Baathists that had experience in local governing, among a myriad of other reasons.)
Bush's goal to 'win' the fight against insurgents and militiamen in Iraq is doomed because he already failed on all the previous steps.
The only debate left is how to ensure that our troops are redeployed out of Iraq as quickly as possible. As a nation, we're unable to deal with other threats around the world because our entire military is breaking under the weight of a failed invasion. It's better to redeploy and deal with the repercussions now than wait another year, see more soldiers killed, more money spent, more wear and tear on our army, then suffer the same repercussions anyway.
War in Iraq George W. Bush