Democratic presidential candidates claim that President Bush is unresponsive, yet they have not come up with any plan other than setting a date to remove our troops or threats of withdrawing funds for Iraq.
Late last year, the President realized that a change of course was necessary in Iraq. He read and considered the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. He also asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to produce a new plan for success in Iraq. After significant consideration of many views, President Bush decided to act. Donald Rumsfeld was replaced, as well as all the top commanders in Iraq.
–New blood” was brought in and a dramatically new strategy was adopted. General David Petraeus was given command of the Multi-National Force Iraq and he brought in a brain trust of battle-tested commanders to sit on his staff.
I’m not sure if “dramatically new strategy” is quite right, as most of what’s new with the “surge” plan is what we’ve been working for all along. I think it’s really more of a tweaking of the existing plan, adopting a few new tactics rather a brand new strategy. But the fact is that we’ve got new leadership at almost every level, we’ve shifted out of peacekeeping and back into warfighting mode for the time being, and we’re going to make a serious effort to keep cleared neighborhoods clear.
As for the “surge” part of the new plan, and remember that the actual “surge” is actually the least important part of the new plan, only one of the five surged brigades is actually in the fight. The second additional brigade is just moving in from Kuwait. The other three additional brigades should be in place by early June.