It should probably come as no surprise that President Bush is entertaining the idea that the way to solve the crisis he’s created in Iraq is to send more troops to the Middle East, as part of a so-called “surge” strategy.
After all, the Bush Administration is the one that imagined the way to respond to deficits was to go on a spending spree and run up more deficits. So why wouldn’t they think that the way to end a war is by dispatching more troops to the front?
The “surge” strategy is ridiculous on its face. And that is precisely why it should be feared; the Bush White House has a penchant for rejecting practical solutions in order to pursue patently absurd pipe dreams. The President is clearly intrigued. He told the Washington Post the idea was among several that he considered “viable.” That comment came in the context of a broader discussion about expanding the size of the military in order to pursure the war on terror.
There’s not much doubt at this point that the Administration is laying the groundwork for a “surge” strategy in Iraq. And that’s scary.
It would be hard to find a more absurd proposal than this one–unless someone attempts to dust off the old “weapons of mass destruction” or “Saddam-Osama connection” bromides.
No one who knows anything about the quagmire in Iraq seriously entertains the notion that a “surge” in troop strength in Iraq–no matter how substantial–will stabilize the country.
At best, a significant increase in US troop numbers might create temporary stability in a few targeted regions of Iraq. But that will simply move the troubles elsewhere, as has happened in the past. Iraq is a big country, and the history of the past three and a half years is one of a highly mobile and flexible insurgency that, as insurgencies always have, flows in the direction of openings.
No matter how many US troops might be dispatched to Iraq, there will not be enough to close all of the openings for mischief and misdeeds–or even most of them.
Even the most optimistic observers understand that the United States does not have enough troops to stabilize the whole of Iraq. Assuming that the US had that capacity, however, the “surge” strategy still would not work, as it relies on the false premise that, once a measure of stability is imposed on the country by foreign troops, the Iraqis will step up to the task of maintaining that stability. Unfortunately, the circumstance of the Iraqi army is such that there would be no time in the foreseeable future when local forces could be expected to take charge of the country.