The Spectacle Blog

Re: Support the Surge — for Now?

By on 1.14.07 | 1:43PM

Again I caution that waiting for the surge to "show results" -- waiting 8 months, 8 weeks, or 8 years -- zeroes in on one significant but far from decisive variable. The phased deployment of the 21,500 will already eat into the results clock, since presumably surge supporters will insist judgment not be tolled until (say) 8 months after the last surged soldier deployed.

But more broadly, the absolute gains in military capability afforded by the surge, its particular size notwithstanding, are a useful but not sufficient component of a much broader strategic shift requirement. The surge, whatever its merits, is hardly a new strategy. Too small and too graded to constitute even a change in the military fundamentals, one of its most dubious functions is as a postponement and evasion of a new political strategy.

To the extent that the surge is an excuse, then, we may as well count our eight months up today. Because if nothing else practical changes aside from the number of warfighters in the Greater Baghdad Metropolitan Area, this enterprise shall remain in urgent need of some major triage -- something everybody already understands now. That the surge is all we got out of Bush so far is an ominous indication that a real change in strategy, shaping world events, will not come from the administration -- but that administration strategy will merely be shaped by them. Supporting the surge is easy. Fixating on the surge we do at our peril.

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