Rich Lowry explains here that the Bush surge and the Kagan-Keane surge aren’t as far apart as they look: The troop-strength numbers are stated differently, but in terms of military units the surge is only one Marine regiment short of Kagan and Keane’s recommendation. I’m still a bit concerned about the numbers, though, since as I understand it Kagan and Keane suggest taking on the Sunni insurgency and leaving the Shiite militias for later while the current plan is to do both. This might end up working out, though. As Mickey Kaus has pointed out, if, as Juan Cole has suggested, Maliki’s “disarm or face the US military” warning to the Sadrists is code for “lay low for a while,” that may in practice mean that US forces have the breathing room to clear and hold Sunni neighborhoods — which could have the political effect of convincing Shiites they don’t need to throw in with the Sadrists.
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