The pre-conditions for a surge

Victor Davis Hanson on “surging.” He argues that “in a war of counter-insurgency the political solution must be contemporaneous with military operations that destroy and humiliate the insurgents.” Only that way, he reasons, “do the vast majority of indifferent citizens not only see greater prosperity and security by allying with the new government, but also nothing but death and destruction should they join the terrorists and militias.”
Thus, Hanson insists that in thinking about a surge we need to focus on “proactive operations to destroy the terrorists and their supporters.” Otherwise, “the additional numbers will only offer bigger targets and added prestige to the terrorists who operate despite increased American investment.” In addition, given the political side of the equation, Hanson considers it crucial that the “Iraqi government understands this is the last chance for democratic success, and [has] no qualms about disarming the Shiite militias and using the army to quell both Shiite and Sunni terrorists.”
It seems unlikely, though, that the Iraqi government we have meets this test. And since Hanson recognizes that if the surge fails “it will bring the entire Iraqi operation to a close with Democratic cut-offs, in the manner of 1974-5, of funding for the war,” the wisdom of a surge is very much in doubt.


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