21 December 2008

Timing The Surge

When it does become time to judge George W. Bush's presidency, one big question will concern the timing of the surge. If it could have been done successfully earlier, than it should have been. If it had to wait for AQiM to prove to the Sunnis what vicious idiots they were, then it couldn't have been done much sooner.


Anonymous said...

It's a cruel and cynical take, but history seems to strongly indicate that populations don't accept those sorts of changes short of devastating losses from violence. The only time I can think of it happening are the Meiji Restoration and the next generation required nukes.


Hey Skipper said...

Hmmm ... I think I noted this sometime ago at Thought Mesh.

I'm not sure anyone was clever enough to have figured it out in advance, but there could have been no better way to demonstrate the futility of Islamic certainty than to allow two possessors of it slaughter each other for a few years.

Harry Eagar said...

We could have left and facilitated that, Skipper.

I know the answer to David's question. (I knew it before the war started and explained it, too.)

A truly depressing and hideous book, Robert Earle's 'Nights in the Pink Motel,' has him saying to Negroponte (he was N's 'thinker') in 2004 that they needed 50K more troops (a vast underestimate, but it makes the point). This, you'll recall, was as the insurgency was gathering steam,nowhere near what it came to be.

But, continues Earle, since they knew they couldn't have them, they had to devise a second-best way.

This, of course, was the same time when Bush was saying he would provide force levels as recommended by field commanders.

Casey should have resigned, but the can-do spirit of the US military -- really, nothing more than the old elan of the pre-French army -- prevailed over competence and common sense.