Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of President Bush’s announcement of the new strategy, the most talked about aspect of which was, of course, the “surge.” I thought I’d repost some of what I wrote last year at the time:
I’m not 100% certain that the supposed move to deploy an additional 21,500 US troops to Iraq is the best move, but it will work if
A) They are there to play offense
B) The Iraqi Army also plays a lot of offense
If we’re sending more troops to play peacekeeper, it’s a bad move that will merely put more of our men and women in the cross-hairs.
However, if we’re sending these troops to take the fight to the insurgents and anti-government militias, 21,000 could do the trick. 17,000 are headed to the Baghdad area, which will be good as long as the mission and rules of engagement are designed to smash, kill, and destroy. We’ll need the Iraqi Army to step it up a notch, but I think they’ve reached the point where they can do just that.
4,000 of the additional troops are headed to the An Anbar province. If that means Fallujah or Ramadi, that’s good. If they’re going to be spread all over the huge province, that’s idiocy.
Well, I think it’s clear that both A and B were completely true. The success of the military aspect of the new strategy is hard to argue against.
Something that I wrote after watching the speech has been bugging me for a while, though:
Iraqi Oil Wealth Sharing? About time. [UPDATE: Instapundit notes this too and says “A bit late, but perhaps not quite too late”.]
I don’t think I’ve heard one word about oil wealth sharing in the past year.
And I criticized a football analogy by Paul Rieckhoff and Lt. Gen. Rick Francona calling the new strategy a “draw play when you’re down big in the 4th quarter.” I made my own football analogy:
Murdoc’s quick football analogy: We are leading 13-12 with about ten minutes to go in the second quarter. We have the ball on our own 30-yard line, 2nd down and 8 yards to go. This play is a simple hand-off to our running back.
He’s likely to run for 3 or 4 yards. Maybe more, maybe less. Pretty safe play. A good cutback could spring him for a long-gainer, but likely only if the defense screws up. Probably sets up a third down. If we fail, we punt. But there’s a lot of time left in the half. And there’s another half to go.
Oh. And it’s only the second game of the season.
Following up on that, I guess I’ll say the new strategy started with a first down run on that hand-off. As the summer progressed, we marched down the field, sometimes by completing short and medium passes, sometimes by solid runs. No trickery, no big plays (except for maybe one 25-yard pass in Baqubah), and nothing too flashy. Just solid, steady, relentless offense. We scored a touchdown in Anbar and kicked to take a 20-12 lead.
Now we’ve kicked off and are letting our defense tear into our opponent who is backed up in their own end of the field. If the blitz into Diyala province sacks the quarterback, we should be able to force a punt and drive down for another score before halftime. A sneaky (or lucky) play could still get things moving for the enemy team, though. They aren’t out of it yet.
Remember, it’s the first half of the second game of the season. There’s a lot of football to play.