Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Getting ready for the Battle of the Surge

Bush is scheduled to announced The Surge, known in plain English as escalation, at 9:00PM Eastern time Wednesday evening. From the preliminary reports, he intends to announce that he's adopting the essentials of the McCain escalation plan.

Unless he totally surprises us, that speech will be the official beginning of the Battle of the Surge. The formal rollout actually began with the AEI war conference last week. The actual escalation seems to have begun on Sunday with US and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) going after militias in Baghdad. See, for instance, 50 killed in Baghdad raids Aljazeera 01/09/07.

Here are some additional worthwhile pieces pre-Surge Speech.

Presidential Campaign Launched in America with Ethnic Cleansing in Iraq by Tom Hayden, CommonDreams.org 01/09/07

Politically, the coming escalation by 20,000 US troops in Iraq is best understood as the comeback strategy of the neo-conservative Republicans rallying around Sen. John McCain’s presidential banner.

The political spin-doctors are calling it a "surge", an aggressive term implying a kind of post-election erection for Bush and the neo-conservatives. In fact, or course, it is an escalation, a term apparently carrying too much baggage from Vietnam.

Results in Iraq: 100 Days Toward Security and Freedom 08/08/03: An early White House paper celebrating our glorious triumph in Iraq. It includes chapters like "Signs of Better Security" and "Signs of Economic Renewal". Ah, the good old days.

National Strategy for Victory in Iraq 11/30/05, the previous New Way Forward that promised certain victory for the Forces of Good. From Part II, "Strategic Logic Behind Security Track":

We are helping the Iraqi Security Forces and the Iraqi government take territory out of enemy control (clear); keep and consolidate the influence of the Iraqi government afterwards (hold); and establish new local institutions that advance civil society and the rule of law in areas formerly under enemy influence and control (build).

Since that approach didn't work, it's great news that we're bringing in Gen. Petraeus now to implement a new New Way Forward based on, uh, "clear, hold and build".

Decision 2008: "The Way Forward in Iraq" 01/08/07 Center for Strategic and International Studies, featuring four members of the House Armed Services Committee: Ike Sketon (D-MO), chairman; Jim Saxton (R-NJ); Jim Marshall (D-GA) and Mac Thornberry (R-TX)

In (Electoral) Dreams Begin Responsibilities by Marty Lederman, Balkinization blog 01/09/07 on why the Dems need to push for legislative restraints on Bush's reckless military policies:

Indeed, it's important for Congress to step up to the plate here not only because the practical stakes are so high, but also precisely because the President is so dismissive of ordinary checks and balances.

Also via another Marty Lederman post, The Congress As Surge Protector by Neil Kinkopf, ACS blog 01/04/07 on Congress' power to set parameters for military actions.

Will Bush Respect The Purse? by Paul Kiel, TPM Muckraker 01/09/07 on Congress' power to regulate war-making.

Mission Impossible: Bush's smart new general can't save Iraq by Fred Kaplan Slate 01/08/07 on the fuzzy math behind the Surge.

See also Josh Marshall's comment on the article of 01/09/07.

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