Via Greenwald, I see that Fred “The Surge” Kagan has gone completely mad. In an article called “The Gettysburg Of This War,” Kagan writes about (wait for it) the President’s surprise trip to Anbar (which, Kagan tells us, “should have surprised no one who was paying attention.”), about which he has this to say:
If ever there was a sign that we have turned a corner in the fight against both al Qaeda in Iraq and the Sunni insurgency, this was it.
Yes, friends, he did say that. Turned a corner! Viewed another way, one might conclude from the location of the visit that Baghdad and even the Green Zone have become so dangerous that the President dared not go there. Kagan continues:
It should be recognized as at least the Gettysburg of this war [bold mine-DL], to the extent that counterinsurgencies can have such turning points. Less than a year ago, it was common wisdom and the conclusion of the Marine intelligence community in Anbar that the province and its people were hopelessly lost.
Of course, last year it did seem hopelessly lost, and barring the remarkable change in local attitudes that did, in fact, happen it would have remained so. The Marines don’t throw in the towel unless things are genuinely hopeless. What changed was an extraordinary shift in local opinion against putative “Al Qaeda” elements. Some of this was facilitated by U.S. forces before the “surge” began (as those paying attention already knew), but it was essentially a move by insurgents to side with their enemy (our armed forces) against an even worse enemy. Kagan dismisses all of this and more, of course, which is how he can say cracked things about Gettysburg and turning corners. Then again, I suppose if I were prominently associated with authoring some form of the “surge” plan, as Kagan is, I might look for anything that would vindicate what I had advocated.