Monday, January 29, 2007

Neocons and the New:

What do you do when your policy over the years has turned out to be a dud? You try to sell a continuation of that policy as something "new". New plans. New personnel. And you quickly dismiss the failures of the last four years (explicitly or implicitly). Witness these examples (excerpts, emp add).

Stephen Hadley in the Washington Post: (h/t BusyBusyBusy)
  • The new plan for Baghdad specifically corrects the problems that plagued previous efforts.
  • ... there is a new operational concept ...
  • ... new rules of engagement ...
  • ... Gen. David Petraeus, the new commander of our forces in Iraq ...
  • ... reinforcing U.S. troops is necessary for this new plan to succeed.
  • ... the new strategy doubles the number of provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) in Iraq.
  • The new strategy incorporates other essential elements of the Baker-Hamilton report ...
Robert Kagan in the Washington Post:
  • In Iraq, American soldiers are finally beginning the hard job of establishing a measure of peace, security and order in critical sections of Baghdad ...
  • ... they've embarked on these operations with the expectation that reinforcements will soon be on the way: the more than 20,000 troops President Bush has ordered to Iraq and the new commander he has appointed to fight the insurgency as it has not been fought since the war began.
Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard:
  • A new general, David Petraeus, is taking over in Iraq with a credible new strategy, counterinsurgency.
Bush in the State of the Union Address:
  • We're carrying out a new strategy in Iraq ...
  • Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work.
Bush's January 10 address to the nation:
  • The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror.
  • Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed ...    Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes.
  • The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I believe that it will.
Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday (21 Jan):
  • It’s all totally irresponsible. It’s just unbelievable. The president is sending over a new commander, he’s sending over troops, and the Democratic Congress, in a pseudo-binding way or non-binding way, is saying, ‘It won’t work.'
  • ... let’s give it a chance to work.


"Give war a chance", say the Neocons. But if this fails, will they give peace a chance?

By Blogger Shag from Brookline, at 1/30/2007 5:52 AM  

Of course, all of those keyboard commandos don't understand the difference between "strategy", "operations", and "tactics".

The strategy of the escalation is unchanged. The tactics of the escalation have been tried before, now they're being tried again. Using a few more troops represents an insignificant operational difference.

Look through military history. When an attack failed, did the generals do the same thing with a few more troops? Was Dieppe followed up with another small commando raid? No, it was Overlord, a massive operation. Operation Battleaxe in the Libyan desert was followed by a much larger operation, Operation Crusader, which succeeded (briefly). Montgomery eventually followed up with his El Alamein operations, which was another order of magnitude larger. That battle finally drove Rommel out of the desert.

By Anonymous American Citizen, at 1/30/2007 10:53 AM  

It's NEU!

By Blogger Steve M., at 1/30/2007 1:47 PM  

It may work but not because of the troop increase, Bush, or Petraeus.

It will work because Maliki told Sadr to lay low for a while. Things will start looking up. Then the Americans will leave and then Sadr can to all of the sectarian cleansing he wants.

Problem is that no matter how goods things look on the surface, Bush and the neocons don't want to leave. They want permanent bases to attack Iran from.

By Anonymous Rockie the Dog, at 1/30/2007 7:01 PM  

The surge is a red herring. The real change is that now U.S. troops have been given the green light to start killing Iranian agents. Previously, we had been catching them, interrogating them, and releasing them. The change in strategy is that now we are deliberately singling them out and killing them.

By Anonymous jms, at 1/31/2007 5:58 AM  

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