Foreign Affairs makes a compelling argument against the Iraq Surge:
The White House still avoids the label, but by any reasonable historical standard, the Iraqi civil war has begun. The record of past such wars suggests that Washington cannot stop this one — and that Iraqis will be able to reach a power-sharing deal only after much more fighting, if then. The United States can help bring about a settlement eventually by balancing Iraqi factions from afar, but there is little it can do to avert bloodshed now.
It is sad. But, the time may have already past when the US had any power to end the violence. The Surge can now, at best, delay the inevitable.
Even if an increase in the number of U.S. combat troops reduces violence in Baghdad and so buys time for negotiations on power sharing in the current Iraqi government, there is no good reason to expect that subsequent reductions would not revive the violent power struggle. Civil wars are rarely ended by stable power-sharing agreements. When they are, it typically takes combatants who are not highly factionalized and years of fighting to clarify the balance of power. Neither condition is satisfied by Iraq at present. Factionalism among the Sunnis and the Shiites approaches levels seen in Somalia, and multiple armed groups on both sides appear to believe that they could wrest control of the government if U.S. forces left. Such beliefs will not change quickly while large numbers of U.S. troops remain.
There was a time I was in favor of a Surge. I favored a large scale surge well beyond that of the current proposal. If anything, in the hopes of avoiding another Cambodia.
But, this current Iraq Surge plan doesn’t jive with any of the best analysts assessment of the situation. At this point, possibly no surge would.
It’s time to find a new strategy.