Counterinsurgency is back in favor, the cure for Iraq as implemented by Gen. David Petraeus and an assortment of Ivy League advisers. By enlisting Sunni Iraqi insurgents to turn their guns against jihadis, Petraeus is claiming tactical progress in the “surge.” The Bush Administration is using that claim in its campaign to continue the surge for another six months, and the war itself for a few years longer. There may also be a high-stakes internal coup against Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, which could be coupled with US appeals to allow more time for political progress. August was spent on feverish promotion of the Petraeus plan, with several dozen members of Congress wined, dined and personally briefed in Baghdad’s Green Zone. Pundits Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, who promoted the 2003 invasion, wrote a widely circulated New York Times op-ed piece titled “A War We Just Might Win” after a recent trip to Baghdad. Fox News then featured O’Hanlon in an upbeat hourlong special about Petraeus and counterinsurgency. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave O’Hanlon an appreciative audience as well. (The PR campaign is having some effect: In late August 29 percent of Americans believed the surge was “making the situation better in Iraq,” up ten points from July. And $15 million is now being spent on Republican television spots to shore up support for the war.)

Read the rest of Tom Hayden’s article: The New Counterinsurgency