Pretty much the short version of this post is “what he says.”
But let me add a couple thoughts which I have been chewing on for awhile.
1. This “Blame Maliki” movement is completely self-serving. I have absolutely no doubt the guy isn’t what we hoped he would be. But I think that says more about our hopes and the tactics we’ve used in Iraq that have undercut his authority. The movement is a smokescreen to “give it more time” when the next guy comes in to take his place.
2. This “Surge is working” meme being pushed by the Bush administration and certain supporters of the war is the function of knee-jerk analysis. Of course having more troops to conduct more military operations will have an effect on tactical issues. But tactical military issues aren’t the source of the overall problem. This war is not primarily about fighting enemy troops in the field of battle. Killing a bunch of people won’t actually make things better.
We are trying to prop up/create/maintain/establish a unified Iraqi government which provides security and government services to the people so that markets can function, schools can operate, and people can begin to invest again in their communities. None of the so-called signs of progress being thrown around loosely by war supporters speak to these issues and therefore evaluating the efficacy of the surge is premature, at best.
The fact that many war supporters are relying so heavily on skewed data to push their version of the war in the media is an indication to me that they still don’t get it. They believe the war can be fought and won in the media. Good public relations is a part of any effective war campaign in this day and age but it’s not an alternative to the facts on the ground.
But then again it’s convenient to define the war’s progress with the way the media has portrayed it. It makes pundits who support the war “soldiers” and makes those in the media who don’t play along “the enemy.”