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Weak, even for him:

But before long, the more honest among the surge opponents will concede that Bush, that supposed dolt, actually got one right. Some brave souls might even concede that if the U.S. had withdrawn in the depths of the chaos, the world would be in worse shape today.

It’s not as deliberately cinematic — or as shamefully priapic — as Bush’s landing on the Abraham Lincoln, but the growing archive of congratulatory pro-surge arguments amounts to a prolonged and equally mendacious “Mission Accomplished” cry. I can’t speak for all the strawmen that Brooks has assembled here, but the most sensible objections to The New Way Forward have not, in fact, been set to rest. As everyone knows, the purpose of the surge was not simply to reduce violence, but to enable political reconciliation, facilitate the development of an Iraqi state than can provide basic services, and further enable Iraqi forces to take up the burden of their own security. The just-released GAO report (.pdf) attests in the gentlest possible terms, pointing out that progress along these lines has been vastly overstated and that the “revised” US strategy in Iraq has failed to articulate a “post-surge” vision. (See Steven Simon’s recent Foreign Affairs piece for a related critique.) That is, one of the major flaws in the original invasion — a failure to plan for the invasion’s aftermath — is being duplicated with respect to the surge. Brooks, like others, desperately want to believe that the Bush administration has salvaged itself while no one was paying attention. But before long, the more honest among the surge proponents will concede that they, like Bush, have pretty much been repeating themselves for years.

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  • I think that would be the “GAO” report.

  • Malaclypse

    “But before long, the more honest among the surge proponents will concede that they, like Bush, have pretty much been repeating themselves for years.”
    There are honest surge proponents?

  • McKingford

    I think – to the extent that violence may have actually decreased – it bears looking into the precise reason(s) why. And doing so will reveal it has little to do with the surge.
    First, the Sunnis have essentially been bought off – bribed. It is more profitable for them to receive money and arms from the Americans than to attack them. This positions the Sunnis to defend themselves against the Shia when/if the Americans leave. This has nothing to do with the escalation of American troops, but rather the infusion of American money (and weapons).
    Second, to the extent that violence has decreased (or that the civil war is no longer raging at previous levels of violence) it is because the purpose of the violence (ie. the purpose of the civil war) has been achieved. Ethnic cleansing has happened, either through murder or displacement, such that Iraq is now almost entirely made up of ethnically pure sectarian areas.

  • namvetted

    Oh boy, the light IS at the end of the tunnel after all. Thank you, Davey, I am in awe.

  • Jay B.

    I agree McKingford — but I think there’ll be one more civil war, and it’ll be the big one, when power is really up for grabs.
    This is the calm before the storm. Why?
    A. I’m a total defeatist who loves defeat more than life itself
    B. The Iraqi players can see, like most people, that the US presence, despite what McCain might say, is finite. We’re still pouring money, material and troops into it — but we’re crippling ourselves in the process. When the troops themselves can’t leave and there’s no one replacing them, well, it seems pretty obvious why there’s no use in fighting at the moment. The Iraqi government is still fragile at best, inept by reputation and is nothing without US backing, but we can’t really afford to be their Blackwater for that much longer.
    As D says, the fundamentals haven’t changed, it’s my guess the Iraqis are keeping their powder dry and their eyes on the prize. Somehow this makes me a defeatist, I know.

  • d

    I think that would be the “GAO” report.
    Fixed it. I must have been thinking of my old friends from Illinois.

  • elm

    My first thought on seeing GEO was also to wonder why graduate students were releasing reports on the war in Iraq, though I’ll admit that I thought of a union at a different Big 10 school.

  • howard

    this fixation with declaring the surge a success despite the fact that it hasn’t met the goals its own proponent set for it is one of these evidentiary points regarding contemporary right-wingers and the fact that their dislike of “liberals” is the single most animating political (hey, philosophical) principle.
    the fact that people who thought that our splendid adventure in iraq was going really, really well right up until the surge now want us to take their word for how really, really well everything is right now is an evidentiary point to the lack of accountability in our public discourse.

  • hickes01

    “Life is complicated. The reason we have democracy is that no one side is right all the time. The only people who are dangerous are those who canit admit, even to themselves, that obvious fact.”
    Did I miss it? When did the Bush admin ever admit to making a mistake? (other than Doofus’ use of combative language?)

  • As everyone knows, the purpose of the surge was not simply to reduce violence
    Indeed. In fact, the “depths of the chaos” occurred at the height of the surge and the brutal violence was pointed to as evidence of success at the time.

  • dswift

    I translated DaBro’s column as, “Bush realized that he could no longer kick the can down the road like he has been. So he kicked it harder! You try kicking a can that hard and still keep it on the road, month after month. What a man!”

  • grouchomarxist

    What are you talking about: The Surge™ has been an outstanding success!
    Of course, you can’t judge that success by the declared objectives. What really matters is that it bought more Friedman Units for Little Boots, allowing him to run out the clock and pass this warthog from Hell on to the next administration.

  • RTFirefly

    More precise David Brooks: âAuWe implemented X in order to achieve Y. We have not achieved Y; therefore, X is a successâAu

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