Saturday, March 17, 2007

Why the surge won't work

This underwrites the point I've been making for the last two years and why I think the surge won't work. Chasing insurgents with the military is like playing whack-a-mole in Iraq.
Yesterday, for instance, we had a teleconference with Colonel David Sutherland of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based in Diyala province, and Lieutenant General Shakir Halail Husain of the Iraqi Army's 5th Division. Sutherland and Shakir are experiencing an increase in attacks "that replicate those normally seen in Baghdad," the colonel said. While sectarian violence is down since July in this mixed province by 70 percent (measured by the number of murders and kidnappings), indirect and direct fire attacks, suicide bombings, suicide car bombings and complex attacks (more than one method of assault) have risen significantly since the New Baghdad Security Plan was put into place.
This is exactly what I said to one of my surge supporting friends in my endless debates on the issue. Sutherland is now asking for more troops, a mini-surge if you will, to combat the increased violence.
But that raises the question: if Sutherland succeeds in Diyala, where will the insurgents go next? He conceded that "the movement of terrorists and insurgents around the country is an effect we may have as a result" of securing Diyala, but as a brigade commander in Baquba, "inside Diyala is what I'm concerned about here."
Well and good for Sutherland but where does it end? Certainly not in Anbar province where yet another round of chlorine bombings has just sickened hundreds of people. How many troops do you think it would take to secure and hold all 168,754 sq miles of Iraq? It simply can't be done.

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