The draft provides a stark assessment of the tactical effects of the current U.S.-led counteroffensive to secure Baghdad. “While the Baghdad security plan was intended to reduce sectarian violence, U.S. agencies differ on whether such violence has been reduced,” it states. While there have been fewer attacks against U.S. forces, it notes, the number of attacks against Iraqi civilians remains unchanged. It also finds that “the capabilities of Iraqi security forces have not improved.” ~The Washington Post
These statements are from a draft GAO report on progress in Iraq. This is in line with the impressions of the lack of progress that we have been getting from news reports all year long. During this entire period of almost eight months, war supporters would continually say, “the surge is working, the surge is working, just give it a little more time.” This seemed like a strange thing to say at the time, since the “surge” pretty clearly wasn’t achieving the goals it was supposed to achieve, or at best only a very few of them. I could never understand why people who wanted to prolong our presence in Iraq thought exaggerating the success of the “surge” was the smart thing to do. In the end, this “surge” boosterism would wear out the patience of those parts of the public that had not already turned against the war, and it would reveal (yet again) the poor judgement and analysis of war supporters. The best way to encourage greater public support for withdrawal was to hype the results of the “surge,” which was never going to be able to do what its proponents claimed. In the absence of any practicable remedy to the problems in Iraq, public frustration would start to turn into outright public opposition to the war.
Perhaps they felt compelled to say this as part of the domestic political debate, or perhaps many of them are so deeply deluded that they literally couldn’t recognise that this new plan had not succeeded. Whatever credibility war supporters still had, if they had any, has been wasted in boosting the prospects of the “surge” as it has become more and more clear that the new tactical plan did not accomplish the (admittedly impossible) mission set out for the U.S. military. It’s as if a dam had already burst and flooded the valley below, and the administration said to the military, “Go plug up some of the holes in the wreckage of that dam, which will somehow solve the flooding problem.”