Monday, September 17, 2007

We Don't Know What We're Doing

That's my interpretation of the testimony of Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. My logic:

  • The surge originally was intended to reverse the momentum which the violence had attained. And to provide space for political process to work.
  • The surge succeeded in stopping the violent momentum but the overwhelming impression I got from sporadic viewing of the hearings and reading the paper was the idea that bottom up progress, symbolized by Anbar, was the new hope, something completely unexpected from 6 months ago.
  • So, because something good happened for once in Iraq, we're going to probably "go long". (Remember when the discussion before the Baker group's report was: "go big", "go long", "get out". Well, we tried the "go big" (as big as we could without going to a draft, etc.), now Bush is going long.)
The bottom line is we didn't understand Iraq before we invaded, and we still don't understand it. That's not surprising; most of us don't understand our own society. That doesn't mean that I'm necessarily for withdrawing all troops by Dec 2008. George Packer in the New Yorker had a sobering piece last week (yes, I'm running slow in blogging) about which he's now blogging.

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