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Thursday, January 18, 2007
but this time is gonna be the best, it's gonna get the other ones off my chest:
If we will the means--if we believe the war in Iraq is worth the effort (and you obviously believe we have more to gain by leaving Iraq than staying)--we will defeat the insurgents and check the militias in Baghdad.This is the sort of stuff that leads people to reject escalation out of hand. War requires more than "will" to win. Desiring to win is different than winning. This basic conflation -- between intention and capability -- is something of a habit on your side of the argument. The argument for the surge is nothing but syllogism: If we increase troops, we will provide security in Baghdad; if we provide security in Baghdad, some benign political arrangement will result; if it happens in Baghdad, it will spread inexorably around the country. My friend, you've been CIA & I of course haven't, but this is really thin gruel. Like a Christmas light, only one node need short-circuit for the whole thing to go pear-shaped. And in the end, all you guys have is... will.
The truth is that examples of occupier counterinsurgencies that succeed are extremely few. It's hardly even the case that we're in fact in need of counterinsurgency outside of Anbar Province, since the issue in Anbar is insurgency and the issue in Baghdad is a civil war. Petraeus, who I've interviewed, has no particular genius to bring onto the question of how one interferes in another man's civil war. This is why Kagan's "plan" is strategery masquerading as strategy. I know you mean well, but your position will make things much, much worse for us by damaging our capability to mitigate our inevitable departure from Iraq and getting back to the task of fucking al-Qaeda up. Please reconsider.
At this point, the only response we should deign to give to the Green Lantern arguments is simply repeating "necessary but not sufficient" over and over again.