Thursday, March 27, 2008

Not a Political Post...

Because I do't do that sort of thing. What I do, sometimes, is ask questions. So here is one that's been on my mind since the troop surge controversy of last year: Can the war in Iraq be won? I mean, I know we could nuke the country and declare victory, but what I want to know is whether the troop surge was carried out with some clear, defined goal in mind. For example, in order to say we're in a recession, you need to have X number of quarters with some terrible statistic (I'm thinking it's a low GDP or something). Is there a similar definition for victory in Iraq? X number of months below a certain level of violence, for instance.

I ask because I really don't know. Not very political most days, but this stuff is all over the news. The troop surge was working, and I thought that was supposed to be a good thing, but I just heard that al-Sadr is breaking a cease-fire and all hell is breaking loose and maybe there'll be daily bombings and rocket attacks, etc.

Now I thought the phrase "the troop surge is working" meant that even though all the bad guys were doing their worst, casualties were down. I realize now, however, that the bad guys had taken a break. They called timeout. Given this circumstance, it appears to me that had there been no troop surge, there still would have been less violence. After all, the bad guys were all on a coffee break.

But then, since I am not a student of politics, it is quite possible that I'm misreading things.


Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't think it can ever be won, but this administration can't lose it either if they turn it over to the next one.

March 28, 2008 12:06 AM  
Blogger Graham Powell said...

I think that we have largely succeeded against Al Queda because they don't have much of a constituency. In the areas they seized power, they did it through violence and intimidation, not through popular support. These guys have been largely run out of town.

The Mahdi Army, on the other hand, is an offshoot of a larger religious organization. I have heard that this latest violence 1) may be their response to the fact they've largely been sideline politically, and 2) may be directed from Iran, *not* from al-Sadr, their nominal leader. Which would be bad news indeed.

March 28, 2008 11:47 AM  

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