And we all know why.
Even before President Bush formally unveiled the plan for a troop surge in Iraq, Democrats were already denouncing it.
WASHINGTON — The new Democratic leaders of Congress fired a pre-emptive shot at the White House on Friday, rejecting an increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq just days before President Bush is expected to propose such a move.
“Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wrote in a letter to Bush.
“We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq,” the Democratic leaders wrote. “It is time to begin to move our forces out of Iraq.”
As usual, they were wrong.
Leading journalists have been reporting for some time that the war was hopeless, a fiasco that could not be salvaged by more troops and a new counterinsurgency strategy. The conventional wisdom in December held that sending more troops was politically impossible after the antiwar tenor of the midterm elections. It was practically impossible because the extra troops didn’t exist. Even if the troops did exist, they could not make a difference.
Four months later, the once insurmountable political opposition has been surmounted. The nonexistent troops are flowing into Iraq. And though it is still early and horrible acts of violence continue, there is substantial evidence that the new counterinsurgency strategy, backed by the infusion of new forces, is having a significant effect.
Some observers are reporting the shift. Iraqi bloggers Mohammed and Omar Fadhil, widely respected for their straight talk, say that “early signs are encouraging.” The first impact of the “surge,” they write, was psychological. Both friends and foes in Iraq had been convinced, in no small part by the American media, that the United States was preparing to pull out. When the opposite occurred, this alone shifted the dynamic.
As the Fadhils report, “Commanders and lieutenants of various militant groups abandoned their positions in Baghdad and in some cases fled the country.” The most prominent leader to go into hiding has been Moqtada al-Sadr. His Mahdi Army has been instructed to avoid clashes with American and Iraqi forces, even as coalition forces begin to establish themselves in the once off-limits Sadr City.
Robert Kagan hits the nail on the head when he says:
A front-page story in The Post last week suggested that the Bush administration has no backup plan in case the surge in Iraq doesn’t work. I wonder if The Post and other newspapers have a backup plan in case it does.
Of course they do… shift the focus to Halliburton.