Surge!

I didn’t watch the presidential speech about Iraq on Wednesday, but I had a good idea what was coming and figured that I could watch it online or read it if there were anything important that I missed.

So far I haven’t felt the need.

The gist of the plan is that we’re going to put in 20,000 more troops and stabilize Baghdad in an attempt to stop the violence there.

It’s funny. From before we went in I’ve believed that we were going in with too few troops. I should be happy, but…

I’ve got a bit of a problem with this one. I’m thinking that the best case scenario is that they succeed and stabilize Baghdad. Even in that scenario, there’s the whole rest of the country that would not have been stabilized. In the worst case scenario, of course, we’re just going to send more people over there without any change at all.

Er… No wait. That’s not the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario is that we send in more people and it actually makes the situation worse. Don’t ask me how that’d happen, but I’m sure it’s possible (just not probable–I hope).

But back to the main point of this post… Basically the whole point of having 400,000 or 500,000 troops in there is that there’s no place for insurgents to go that they can escape our troops. As it is, they can leave Baghdad and start operations somewhere else–which is the major problem we’ve been facing all along.

Also, of course, if troops follow the insurgency to the new problem spot, the insurgents can always move back to Baghdad.

We’ve got enough troops to stop an insurgency in the country. We just don’t have enough to stop insurgencies all over the country and keep them stopped.

Of course, I’ve got to admit that success isn’t inevitable even with with 400,000 troops. There’s just a far better chance then than with 130,000 to 150,000 (plus some 10,000-15,000 coalition troops).

With any luck, the current Congress will find some way to push the Bush administration along. I’ve got to admit though, that I think that unlikely. From what I understand, the power of the purse is a fairly blunt instrument and Bush has the ability to move money around from one place to another.

I deeply suspect that we won’t see an effective Iraq policy until we have an administration that wasn’t involved in getting us into this mess.

UPDATE: Just for what it’s worth, I’d like to clarify that “effective Iraq policy” doesn’t necessarily mean putting in 400,000 troops at this point. It could just as easily mean pulling out, involving other countries in the process as per the Iraq Study Group, or some other new and creative idea that seems unlikely to come out of the current administration.

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