Super-Surge Me.
March 16, 2007 3:25 PM   Subscribe

Super-Surge Me. General David Petraeus is asking for another Army brigade in Iraq, in addition to the 21,500 mentioned in January and the 4,700 support troops added last week. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha (28 comments total)
The spin is that the original surge only included combat troops, and the additional troops are support troops. However, in January the Army Chief of Staff said "we do not anticipate there will be increased combat service support requirements over what is now embedded inside of the brigade combat teams we have." The White House said "there are already enough support troops on the ground there that very few will be required." A Congressional Budget Office report from early February says the total troops in the surge could reach 48,000.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:26 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Stop calling it a "surge."

It's an escalation, or a buildup, or an increase.

By referring to it as a "surge" you're just confirming the Administration's language, and inadvertently implying that it's a temporary increase that will quickly abate.
posted by bshort at 3:32 PM on March 16, 2007 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the secondary callout of the spin angle, korkaracha; that made it much easier for me to jump into the context of why this is important. I wish more FPPs had that.
posted by davejay at 3:35 PM on March 16, 2007

so how much more is this gonna cost us? in addition to the $3.2 billion supplemental request for last week's surge.
posted by pruner at 3:38 PM on March 16, 2007

This will fix everything!
posted by brain_drain at 3:44 PM on March 16, 2007

Names mean nothing to those without experience , and the mind to understand its context. So call it what ever you want.

Those who go there can tell me what to call it if and when they return home.
posted by nola at 3:45 PM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Billmon had a great series of posts about this. The Flight Forward. Sadly, his site is now unavailable and he seems to have retired.
posted by srboisvert at 3:52 PM on March 16, 2007

I think the proper branding is now the Petraeus plan (Bloglines, Google), rather than surge. That way in 6 months when they replace Petraeus after another bitter failure, it will be easy to try the same crap again. Just like the last 4 times they tried this "surge" idea. Of course on the off chance this thing works; then the Republicans can nominate President Petraeus 8 years when McCain is done. Maybe it is working after all even Islamic press is saying violence is down. The Iraqi PM is making vists to Ramadi. We have co-operation/ceasefire from the Mahdi Army. Iran got hit with sanctions. We had direct talks with Syria. Maybe this is just propoganda or perhaps we could look at the Iraqi situation as an asset bubble that has finally deflated to the point that real value has returned. Much like Apple in 2003, Iraq has hit bottom and the smart stealth money is starting to pour in to pick up the reconstruction on the cheap. It still won't account for the trillions of dollars we've thrown at things; but someone could make a bundle on this thing if it turns around.
posted by humanfont at 3:54 PM on March 16, 2007

As protests against deepening American involvement mounted, General Westmoreland warned that encouraging the enemy in this way could cost American lives.

Yet, he said in a speech in New York City in April 1967, "The end is not in sight," and he added, "In effect, we are fighting a war of attrition."

Then he flew to Washington to ask for still more reinforcements to bring United States forces up to 550,500, the "minimal essential force," or 670,000, the "optimum."

The request shocked Johnson, who asked, "Where does it all end?" Mr. McNamara asked how long it would take to win. As General Westmoreland recalled his answer, it was "With the optimum force, about three years; with the minimum force, at least five."

posted by languagehat at 3:56 PM on March 16, 2007

Gotta have somebody to populate those permanent bases don't we?
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 3:59 PM on March 16, 2007

Why don't we send all the soldiers over there and bring back the ones that we don't need? This is what I do when I buy roofing supplies at Home Depot.
posted by Nahum Tate at 3:59 PM on March 16, 2007 [2 favorites]

I would love a chart that showed the number of non-accidental deaths in Iraq per day compared to troop levels in Iraq at that point. It would make forming an opinion on these matters much easier.
posted by aburd at 4:00 PM on March 16, 2007

the Petraeus plan

I can't wait for that movie to come out. Is that the one with Keanu Reeves, or the guy from that boy band?
posted by davejay at 4:01 PM on March 16, 2007

Time for a draft.

(or a sane foreign policy, but hey, whatever)
posted by Flunkie at 4:12 PM on March 16, 2007

As far as I can tell, this does validate the use of the term "surge" only because the administration lied about the numbers involved. There will now be more American troops on the ground than ever before.

Which raises an even larger question -- if indeed "major combat operations" are over, and this unprecendented number is the "correct" one for success, why have we had the wrong number of troops for four years?
posted by bardic at 4:23 PM on March 16, 2007

Which raises an even larger question -- if indeed "major combat operations" are over, and this unprecendented number is the "correct" one for success, why have we had the wrong number of troops for four years?

we had to use the process of elimination to determine what the "correct" number is.
posted by pruner at 4:31 PM on March 16, 2007

It's not a surge, it's an augmentation.
posted by brundlefly at 4:44 PM on March 16, 2007

At this point instead of debating how much is enough and how do we define defeat, Americans might do well to hear a voice from Baghdad - one of the people the U.S. is trying to help:

... as the situation continues to deteriorate both for Iraqis inside and outside of Iraq, and for Americans inside Iraq, Americans in America are still debating on the state of the war and occupation- are they winning or losing? Is it better or worse.

Let me clear it up for any moron with lingering doubts: It’s worse. It’s over. You lost.

You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the cheers of your imported, American-trained monkeys. You lost every single family whose home your soldiers violated. You lost every sane, red-blooded Iraqi when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out and verified your atrocities behind prison walls as well as the ones we see in our streets.

You lost when you brought murderers, looters, gangsters and militia heads to power and hailed them as Iraq’s first democratic government. You lost when a gruesome execution was dubbed your biggest accomplishment. You lost the respect and reputation you once had. You lost more than 3000 troops. That is what you lost America. I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile.

- from Baghdad Burning, a blog started by an Iraqi woman in her late 20s who goes by "Riverbend." A programmer, she started the blog a few months after the invasion.
posted by sacre_bleu at 4:49 PM on March 16, 2007

I think the U.S. had up to 150,000 troops at the end of 2004. The latest "surge" brings the number up to 165,000 or so.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:54 PM on March 16, 2007

I was going to comment that they waited until a weekend to announce this (hoping not as many people will notice it) but the article makes it "seem" as though this a leak. I hope the Democrats will scream over this but I've lost all faith in them to do anything except wring their hands.
posted by loosemouth at 4:58 PM on March 16, 2007

ah hell, lets all just move over there, build a few Disney theme parks import some ole New York City justice and call it good. Prolly be cheaper in the long run.
posted by edgeways at 4:58 PM on March 16, 2007

His commander of chief
posted by growabrain at 6:18 PM on March 16, 2007

I hope the Democrats will scream over this but I've lost all faith in them to do anything except wring their hands.

The sad thing is, the Democrats actually have the "mandate" that Bush was talking about back when all of this started. The American people elected them to get us out of Iraq -- if they only gave us a nice, face-saving Mission Accomplished bow-out and brought the soldiers back home, they could do whatever they wanted in Congress. By 2010, they could have passed the ERA and re-legalized both marijuana and free speech! Instead, they're just playing the milquetoast sellout game, same old same old. What a shame.
posted by vorfeed at 8:41 PM on March 16, 2007

"That is what you lost America. I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile."

Well, yeah, maybe. 'Cept, y'know, no oil. The pipe that runs from Kirkuk to the (Turkish) port in Ceyhan kept getting blown up. For some reason.

"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." - James Madison
posted by Smedleyman at 12:47 AM on March 17, 2007

Areas outside Baghdad, notably Diyala province, are experiencing an upsurge in violence "that replicate those normally seen in Baghdad" and the US commander of northern Iraq is asking for more troops. Who could have anticipated that the evildoers would just move out of Baghdad?

Well, maybe not all of the evildoers. Although I could've sworn that Al Qaeda in Iraq was strategically defeated by Fox News, bloggers, and Bush last year, they're causing trouble in Baghdad.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:50 PM on March 17, 2007

"One is none. Two is one. If you really need one, no less than three will do. Bring five."
posted by scarabic at 11:11 AM on March 18, 2007

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