Home > Iraq News > Enough with the “Surge Worked” Meme

Enough with the “Surge Worked” Meme

March 3rd, 2008

This guy (who Kevin Drum often references) is arguing that the Surge worked because of these numbers:


His case: if those wimps Hillary or Obama had their way and we’d pulled out just before the surge, none of this would have happened.

The problem: like so many others, he completely ignores the Mahdi Army cease-fire. Look at Civilian, Iraq Police/Military, and Coalition deaths where the Mahdi Army cease fire is taken into account:




Statistically speaking, the surge had little or no effect in the time it was working–the drops in casualties came after the Mahdi Army called a cease fire. There were peaks and valleys during the surge, but the lasting decrease in violence came only after the cease fire had begun. And seriously, that explanation makes a hell of a lot more sense. Adding a fractional number of soldiers to the battlefield is far less likely to have made the difference than the insurgents most responsible for violence calling a stop to their attacks. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out.

And Muqtada al-Sadr did not call a cease fire because of the surge, he called it because his army was beginning to factionalize, and he needed the down-time to keep them together under his control. This does not mean that the underlying problem in Iraq has been curbed or is under control, it means that the same groups that caused most of the bloodshed before are marshaling their forces in preparation for a longer, bloodier fight. So you cannot credit the surge for lighting a fire under al-Sadr.

While it is good news that al-Sadr called the cease-fire, it is completely unreasonable to think that it will last forever, or even long enough for the Iraqi government to stabilize.

The unfortunate thing I see is that Iraq-war cheerleaders now have their talking points: the surge worked, and when the Democrats pull out the troops then (a) if there is peace, it’s only because of the surge and George Bush, and (b) if there is war, it’s only because the damn Democrats pulled out like cowards. Never mind that al-Sadr is the one who can make or break this thing and he is not going to be controlled by whatever number of forces we are able to put on the ground.

Long story short: Republicans created this unholy mess and are perfectly poised to claim credit for any victory and blame Democrats for any problems.

In other words, business as usual.

Categories: Iraq News Tags: by
Comments are closed.