July 24, 2008

On The Surge: McCain Was Sorta Right, Obama Was Dead Never Wrong

It is rather amusing watching the media and lefty bloggers chase after John McCain for the candidate's continued insistence that the surge set the stage for the Sahawah or Awakening movement. McCain may be using questionable terminology when claiming that the surge predated the awakening, but only if we're talking about the increase in troop strength, which alone would have accomplished nothing.

What made the surge successful—and what McCain can quite fairly argue—is that the counterinsurgency doctrine that began prior to the formation of the Sahawah movement and capitalized on the growing Sunni discontent with al Qaeda is part of or are at least a precursor to the official surge of additional U.S. troops into Iraq.

Critics in the media and blogosphere somehow seem to be under the delusion that merely an increase in troop strength was the reason for the surge succeeding, but it was changes in strategy and tactics used by the greater number of soldiers that made the difference. Of course, how are liberals supposed to get their facts straight when even their experts can't?

McCain was right to go after Barack Obama's confused history of the surge the Sahawah movement, the decline of Shia militias, and the influence political and military movement by U.S. forces had in making each possible.

American forces provided support, funding, material, and often carried out raids on behalf of the Sunni tribes battling al Qaeda. Perhaps the Sunni tribes could have eradicated al Qaeda in time on their own—they had the home field advantage—, but it is a incontrovertible historical fact that they did not achieve their success without substantial U.S. assistance. Did the Sunni Awakening movement officially begin before the official start of the surge? Yes. Did it begin without any U.S. involvement? No. Could it have succeeded? We'll never know. It should worry the American people that Barack Obama does not seem to understand any of this.

Likewise, the more recent decline of Shia militias occurred because U.S. force trained and equipped the Iraqi the IA forces that stormed Barsa and Sadr City, we provided air and ground support during those raids, and of course, were securing other areas which freed up Iraqi forces to take the lead in these assaults which seem to have largely broken the Madhi Army and related Shia gangs. The success of Iraqi security forces over Shia militias did not happen in a vacuum, but because of substantial U.S. involvement. Barack Obama does not seem to understand this.

The security gains made in Iraq simply would not have occurred as quickly or as successfully as they did without U.S. forces. That Barack Obama would try to minimize that is understandable, as it to admit American forces were vital to the current state of affairs in Iraq would be an admission that he was wrong about the surge, and as we all know, Barack Obama is never wrong.

And so Barack Obama wasn't wrong about standing against the surge. He was not wrong for advocating the abandonment of the Iraqi people when things got tough. Barack Obama is never wrong.

And just pray the freshman senator isn't elected to a position where he'll "never be wrong" about issues affecting your life.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 24, 2008 09:30 AM

I see you've quickly adopted the McCain spin. Talk about never being wrong. Anbar Awakening, the Iraq-Pakistan border, Czechoslovakia, talking to Iran, timelines, increased attention to Afghanistan. All McCain, all wrong, all the time. And this is supposed to be his strong suit.

Posted by: Yankee Yankee at July 24, 2008 10:38 AM

Well, I suppose you could call it spin. I cal it grasping reality.

To each his own.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 24, 2008 10:40 AM

CY: 1
YY: 0

Posted by: Dan Irving at July 24, 2008 10:44 AM

Did you just announce that CY is pro-McCain?

Um. Do you even read this blog?

Posted by: brando at July 24, 2008 11:14 AM

Did McCain ever claim to be a member of the senate banking committee as Obama did? Flat out lie.

Then again, YY has decided that Obama really wasn't against the surge, he was just nuancing the debate way back then.

You can lead a liberal to knowledge but you can't make him think.

Posted by: Gil at July 24, 2008 11:27 AM

If journalists had any integrity, one of them would ask Obama if he knows which committees he's in. They would also ask him what specifically he did to pass that banking bill he's taking credit for.

Posted by: Roy Mustang at July 24, 2008 11:37 AM

I see how it works now.

1. Moderator drones on and on on subjects of his choosing.

2. Opposing viewpoint, which is nicely summarized by a writer on a national news site, is posted.

3. Moderator deletes opposing viewpoint.

I guess "lengthy" posts aren't allowed, especially if they effectively refute the viewpoint expressed by Herr Moderator.

This confirms it: this site is for the cyber equivalent of a bunch of buddies going down to the neighborhood bar and sharing beers all night long. You don't want to think, you don't want to consider opposing viewpoints. You want to sit around and grouse together.

So be it.

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 12:41 PM

Actually, jerk, if you provided a real email address, you would have seen this:

fyi, I don't mind linking, and I don't mind quoting, but such extensive quotation violates "fair use" and would generally qualify as comment spam.

I'm deleting this comment as a result. Please edit it down to a paragraph or 2, or provide a paraphrase with the link.


Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 24, 2008 12:44 PM

Diogenes: 0

Posted by: Dan Irving at July 24, 2008 12:55 PM

Diogenes didn't get his opus published here? Some lengthy screed decrying everything conservative and, of course, claiming Obama really was for the surge? Go figure.

Learn how to link or condense your bloviating to less than four hundred pages, you dope.

Posted by: Gil at July 24, 2008 01:11 PM
Diogenes didn't get his opus published here?

If only it was his. He cut and pasted the first five paragraphs of article.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 24, 2008 01:14 PM

Ugh, thanks for deleting it. If there is one thing I hate it's the bandwidth hogs who feel it necessary to post some loooooong article and then expect everyone to read it and get pissy if we don't.

Link it, if I want to read it I will.

Posted by: Gil at July 24, 2008 01:46 PM

I didn't mean for CY to link it, btw.

Posted by: Gil at July 24, 2008 01:47 PM


Obama miscountts teh number of states in AMERICA by 7, claims to be on a Congressional commitee he was never on, says he plans to be President for TEN years,and claims that even though the Surge worked, he STILL would've opposed it because it helped Bush...

And you clowns are concerned about the Czechs ans Slovaks?

Must be nice to have a (liberal's) sense of priorities.

Posted by: DaveP. at July 24, 2008 03:43 PM

Never type when you're angry...
Never type when you're angry...
never type when you're angry...

Posted by: DaveP. at July 24, 2008 03:45 PM

"Commie liberals sux. They cause all problems in the world."

Short enough? CY PC enough?

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 03:48 PM

E-mail just arrived, postage due, by Pony Express.

You really do support McCain in all things: even the chronology of the e-mail got switched. Was that part of The Surge, too?

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 03:53 PM

Uh, Diogenes, this may shock you, but this is Bob's personal blog. He has the right to allow or disallow whatever posts he wants.

So, of course, do places like DailyKOS or DemocraticUnderground. If you wanna see real censorship in action, go there and post something complimentary to conservatives.

In fact, I wish you would try that experiment I just suggested. It might teach you a thing or two. But, I am 99.999% certain you don't have the cojones.

Posted by: C-C-G at July 24, 2008 04:54 PM

Nice persecution complex there, Diogenes.

When you're looking for that honest man, don't bother checking a mirror...

Posted by: DaveP. at July 24, 2008 04:54 PM

I'm still looking here, but it sure is tough. I would think that, with all these posters, I might have a chance, but.....

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 04:59 PM

I think you'd better refine your definition of "honest," diogenes. I've been nothing but honest about my opinions, including my opinion of you as a bald-faced liar for claiming to be a Republican.

Posted by: C-C-G at July 24, 2008 06:30 PM

Again, typical, C-C-G. I am a Republican. And as much as it might annoy you, you don't get to define who a Republican is and who it isn't.

Republicans don't have to meet your narrow standards.

Americans don't have to meet your narrow standards.

You and your buddies may set the rules on this blog, and you may drive the discussion here, but you don't have that power in the real world. Thank God.

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 07:22 PM

You can't convince me, diogenes. Quit wasting your bandwidth.

And you nicely skipped over the part about me being honest, the "honest man" that the real Diogenes was seeking. Keep spinning, maybe someday you'll strike oil.

Posted by: C-C-G at July 24, 2008 07:31 PM

I see you, C-C-G. I can't help but see you. And I'm still looking.

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 07:41 PM

Ahh, so you must be using the lefty definition of "honest." I guess that means "someone who agrees with me."

You're rapidly becoming boring, diogenes. I think it's time for you to head back to Kos or DU with your wonderful story of how you showed all us neanderthals what a superior debater you are.

Posted by: C-C-G at July 24, 2008 07:52 PM

Never been to Kos, and have no idea what DU is. But thatnks for planning my vacation itinerary. Do I have to pay you a commission as my travel agent?

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 07:54 PM

I find it very hard--nay, impossible--to believe you've never been to Kos. You follow their playbook to the letter.

Next, you attack me for not believing you.

Posted by: C-C-G at July 24, 2008 07:55 PM

No mas.

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 08:00 PM

The fact is that Petraeus's surge tactics were much different previous commanders'. LtCol David KilCullen, a retired Australian infantry officer and PhD, is his expert on COIN. Many of us read his "narrative" on Small Wars Journal, but I found a PDF written for company level called 28 Articles. It's 10 pages long but well worth the read.



A Confederate Confederate

Posted by: arch at July 25, 2008 07:20 AM

"The fact is that Petraeus's surge tactics were much different previous commanders'."

But Petraeus wasn't commander when the anbar awakening occured. Please try to keep up.

Posted by: Bob at July 25, 2008 03:42 PM


Actually, Petraeus put the COIN tactics in play in 2003 when he was commanding the 101st Airborne in Mosul. The Anbar Awakening was in the Summer of 2006. When he left, the situation reverted back.

I never said that Petraeus was commander during Anbar. The fact that our troops knew about the success Petraeus achieved and how he did it.

COIN is all about the competing narratives. Al Qaeda said "anyone who cooperates with the US or government forces will be killed." We said "we're here to help you." The local tribal leaders said, "we want American forces out of Iraq." The Marines of II MEF said, "we want to go home too."

Our guys mounted a campaign to move forces in towns and protect the locals. The locals expressed fear that Al Qaeda would return to which the marines replied, "they're dead or running for the border." Actions spoke louder than words.

The insurgency became a battle between Sunni tribes and Al Qaeda.


Posted by: arch at July 25, 2008 04:19 PM