June 29th, 2007

The surge: “Hello we must be going…”

Groucho Marx had a signature greeting song, always good for a laugh: “Hello I Must Be Going:”

Hello, I must be going
I cannot stay
I came to say
I must be going
I’m glad I came
But just the same
I must be going…

In relation to the surge, Congress is Groucho Marx, although not nearly as funny. That surge we’ve heard so much about, headed by counter-insurgency expert General Petraeus—originally held in such high bipartisan esteem—is only about a week or so into full deployment.

But of course it’s failed. Or, rather, it will fail. Inevitably, indubitably.

Because the pundits and the members of Congress know much more about such things than General Petraeus. No need to wait around to see what actually happens by the short-sighted September deadline. When last I checked it’s only late June right now, but what more could possibly happen in a couple of months? Why bother? We all know the outcome, don’t we?

The MSM made much of Senator Richard Lugar’s speech on the subject (and please actually read his words rather than the MSM reports of what he said) since it represented a defection from the Bush line by a prominent Republican. The gist of Lugar’s speech seemed to be the following: the Iraqis are no good, our military is tired, and neither the American people nor Congress has the patience and will to even try anymore, so let’s leave before we even discover the results of the surge.

Senator Lugar’s rationale for suggesting abandonment of the surge now rather than waiting any longer is predicated on the fact that we are more likely to get truly bipartisan cooperative policy going if we start sooner rather than waiting to accomplish it during a contentious election year.

Sorry, Senator, you may not have noticed, but it’s already rather late for that. Actually, it’s been too late since the election of 2006. In fact, it was probably too late even earlier. As you yourself noted in the first few paragraphs of your speech [emphasis mine]:

The prospects that the current “surge” strategy will succeed in the way originally envisioned by the President are very limited within the short period framed by our own domestic political debate. And the strident, polarized nature of that debate increases the risk that our involvement in Iraq will end in a poorly planned withdrawal that undercuts our vital interests in the Middle East….The current debate on Iraq in Washington has not been conducive to a thoughtful revision of our Iraq policy.

Bingo, Senator Lugar. And that includes you.

Here’s an outline of the way the surge is supposed to work, if successful. You’ll note that its main thrust is not expected to occur until this summer—that’s actually where that September timeline for a report on the undertaking originated.

In fact, the surge is an example of what Lugar is asking for, “a thoughtful revision of our Iraq policy,” drawn up by a general who is the country’s expert in the field, newly appointed and approved (the latter unanimously, I might add) for the very purpose of implementing it after the architect of the old policy, Secretary Rumsfeld, was ousted subsequent to last year’s election.

Oh, details, details. And, as J.D. Johannes points out in this article, the four goals Senator Lugar has outlined for our policy in Iraq and the greater Middle East:

…are being advanced, some of them dramatically, by the surge strategy of Gen. David Petraeus — the very strategy that Sen. Lugar would scrap in favor of “downsizing and redeployment.”

Johannes has recently returned from three months in Iraq, and his article offers a strong critique of Lugar’s speech. Johannes notes that the surge has already accomplished important things, even prior to its being at full strength:

The principal accomplishment of the surge to date is solidifying the “Anbar Awakening,” the significance of which has been under-reported by the media and ill-understood by the public. If any piece of territory in Iraq qualified as a “terrorist safe haven,” it was bloody Anbar. This province of little over 1 million people — 4.5 percent of Iraq’s population—has accounted for 34.6 percent of U.S. casualties….The virtual extinction of the insurgency in the province — a victory that I was privileged to witness first-hand — represented not some momentary quirk of tribal alliances, but a diligent application of the revised tactics that coalition forces have implemented under skilled, battle-proven officers and Gen. Petraeus.

It’s not hard to predict that whatever gains may occur this summer as a result of Petraeus and his “skilled, battle-proven” officers and troops will likewise by “under-reported by the media and ill-understood by the public.”

And that’s because the fix is in, and the song is being sung: Hello, we must be going….

25 Responses to “The surge: “Hello we must be going…””

  1. University Update - Iraq - The surge: “Hello we must be going…” Says:

    […] House Link to Article iraq The surge: “Hello we must be going…” » Posted at neo-neocon on […]

  2. alphie Says:

    It’s going to take a little time, and we will probably have a better view a couple of months from now in terms of whether we are making headway in terms of getting better control of Baghdad

    –Defense Secretary Gates, January 11, 2007


  3. Support the troops….buy this book at Amused Cynic Says:

    […] Lugar needs to read this book too, as does Representative Murtha….there are more than a few of us out here feeling very, very put-off by their words and deeds on Capitol Hill. It’s not hard to […]

  4. Cappy Says:

    Are you saying that the President is Margaret DuMont?

  5. stumbley Says:


    What’s your point? What do you think is going to happen if we leave Iraq?

    Will Muslims stop putting propane, nails and gas in cars in Haymarket?

    Will Muslims stop murdering Buddhists and Christians in Thailand?

    Will Hamas and Fatah immediately kiss and make up?

    Will Iran cease attempting to produce of nuclear devices, stop supporting Hizb’allah, and stop trying to destabilize and take over Lebanon?

    Will Arab nations immediately recognize Israel and sign peace agreements?

    Or will Islamic fascists become emboldened by the collapse of the “paper tiger” and step up terrorist activities around the globe in quest of a worldwide Ummah?

    You tell me.


  6. alphie Says:


    Let’s focus on the topic at hand for a sec.

    At first glance, the claim that the “surge,” which began six months ago and has already cost the lives of over 500 Americans, thousands of Iraqis and the dollar equivalent of China’s annual defense expenditures, has “just begun” would seem to mark a complete break from reality for the pro-war crowd.

    But then, you realize it is just a loyalty to oath to be repeated by the remaining true believers so Bush can get a head count.

    Efforts by the administration to reclaim the support of a mjority of Americans for our operations in Iraq have now been officially abandoned.

    A scary realization.

    Might I suggest a better song?

    The Carpenter’s We’ve Only Just Begun…to Surge

  7. alphie Says:

    Haha, Vegas.

    Needed for what?

    The “surge” depended on Iraqi politicians and security forces doing their jobs, too.

    They haven’t.

    Whatever our troops in Iraq do now is almost irrelevant.

  8. stumbley Says:


    What’s it all about, anyway?

    The surge began last week, when the final battalion of troops arrived. You really don’t pay attention to facts, which is your big problem. I’m with Louise from the last thread. It’s time for you to go.

  9. alphie Says:

    Hmmmmm Stumbley,

    What do you suppose Joe Lieberman meant when he wrote in an article neo linked to over 4 months ago:

    What is remarkable about this state of affairs in Washington is just how removed it is from what is actually happening in Iraq. There, the battle of Baghdad is now under way. A new commander, Gen. David Petraeus, has taken command, having been confirmed by the Senate, 81-0, just a few weeks ago. And a new strategy is being put into action, with thousands of additional American soldiers streaming into the Iraqi capital.


    Does “now underway” really mean sit around until the very last guy shows up with…what?

    The maps?

    The plan?

  10. stumbley Says:

    One more chance, A:

    Halliburton address in Iran? Projects?

    Your take on what happens if we leave Iraq?

    Step up to the plate, debate, or leave. It’s really that simple. You are one tiring dude.

  11. harry Says:

    It doesnt matter Stumbley, Alfie is only interested in being sneeringly smug.

    Remember that you can practically make nuclear weapons by mixing dirt in a washing machine.

    This is why you cant talk to liberals.

  12. alphie Says:

    Maybe Bush shoudda called the surge Operation Groundhog Day.

  13. Bonnie Says:

    Q: What do you think is going to happen if we leave Iraq?
    A: they will clean up our stinking mess I guess. Somehow.

    Q:Will Muslims stop putting propane, nails and gas in cars in Haymarket?
    A: Who’s Haymarket are you referring to? Thiers? Ours?
    Q:Will Muslims stop murdering Buddhists and Christians in Thailand?
    A: Perhaps when the government accepts concensus building that includes the Muslim community. It usually helps when a government is equitable to it’s citizens.
    Q:Will Hamas and Fatah immediately kiss and make up?
    A: well at least it wouldn’t be the US starving one side and funding the other. I think that creates a problem right there and I hate for my country to make all these messes all over the place in my name. It’s not just evil but really getting stupid.
    Q:Will Iran cease attempting to produce of nuclear devices, stop supporting Hizb’allah, and stop trying to destabilize and take over Lebanon?
    A: Iran is not doing anything unique or unusal so what are you complaining about? Besides, If Israel has nuclear capabilities then everyone in the region should have equal capability. Israel threatens everyone in the region. The U.S. threatens everyone in the region. Hezbolla, they are Lebanese and deal with issues which effects them. Are you Lebanese? Is Hezbollah your business?
    Q:Will Arab nations immediately recognize Israel and sign peace agreements?
    A: geez, I would hope not. Israel belongs in Europe where it hails from. The folks who commited genocide against them in their countries where they come from should make room for their “Israel”. The others Jews, Christians and Muslims should belong as brothers and sisters in Palestine as before.
    Q:Or will Islamic fascists become emboldened by the collapse of the “paper tiger” and step up terrorist activities around the globe in quest of a worldwide Ummah?
    A: If the U.S. and Israel did not militarily occupy their lands they would hardly have a raison d’etre. As for Islamic fascists quests of a worldwide Ummah, they are doing a damn good job of it in your democratic systems. better then they can do at home under the US puppet regimes. GW Bush keeps telling us that we are fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here. That’s a joke. They are here building an Ummah in the west in default of not being anywhere else and US is elsewhere fighting some Islamic boogeyman. That’s funny, isn’t it?

  14. Good Ole Charlie Says:


    So you’re a member of the Kumbaya School Of International Politics.

    Love and Daisies hasn’t worked since the Dawn of Time. Why should it work now? All you need is one bastard who takes advantage of all the other saps…and we’re off to the races.

    You will always find that bastard…there will be a long line of them waiting for fools like you to do their thing.

    “Without Me, Sister”

  15. Good Ole Charlie Says:

    PS Bunnie:

    There’s a strong whiff of Anti-Semitics in your little screed. Hope I’m only being paranoid…

  16. WEVS1 Says:

    democratiya.com“Israel belongs in Europe where it hails from…The others Jews, Christians and Muslims should belong as brothers and sisters in Palestine as before.”

    Bonnie, I really don’t mean to be rude but you are either woefully uniformed (misinformed?) or intentionally delusional. The history of Israel/Palestine/the Levant has not been all that peaceful, going back to ancient times. If you don’t like reading history texts, have a look at the Tanakh.

    After the establishment of Christianity and Islam the region did not experience peaceful coexistence between the faiths. Mohammed drove the Jews out of Medina and Chaibar either killing them, selling them as slaves, or turning them into serfs. And you forgot two centuries of wars fought between Christians and Muslims over Jerusalem. You know, the Crusades? They were hardly times of brotherly love.

    In more recent times, there were major Arab riots across Palestine in 1929 that left a lot of Jews dead and from 1936-1939 was the Arab Revolt headed by Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini. The Mufti demanded an end to Jewish immigration and an end to sales of land to Jewish owners. By the 1940s he was collaborating with Hitler.

    If you doubt the imperial aspirations of the Islamists, I highly recommend reading historian Efraim Karsh’s “Islamic Imperialism: A History” (Yale University Press, 2006). Here is a brief bit from a book review at “Democratiya” (http://www.democratiya.com/review.asp?reviews_id=32)

    Contrary to most explanations popular in Middle Eastern Studies, then, Karsh does not see Islamism as a response to the domination of European imperialism or to the growing embrace of Western ideals and practices by Muslim societies. Rather, the early Muslim Brotherhood traced the societal breakdown in the Islamic world ‘to the disintegration of the first umma and the creation of the Umayyad and Abbasid empires, where the notion of Allah’s universal sovereignty succumbed to the reality of human kingship and hereditary rule in the most decadent and un-Islamic forms’ (p.110). Thus, just as the first umma included an enormously diverse number of peoples, the Islamists’ ‘vision of peace and harmony under the banner of Islam was a worldwide, transnational order’ (p.212). As the first umma was produced by Muhammad’s military triumphs, so this new transnational Islamic order would be ushered in by politically motivated violence.”

  17. Talkinkamel Says:


    The Jews belong in Europe?

    You mean the Europe that tried to exterminate them, during the 20th Century? Don’t read much history, do you.

  18. harry Says:

    And using children as automated bomb carriers to blow up shopping malls is justifiable in the war on Zionism, because the proud Palestinian people dont have F15’s.

  19. gcotharn Says:

    nice post.

  20. Elrond Hubbard Says:

    juancole.comI agree with the criticism that politicians don’t understand Iraq — none holding office or running for one. But the thing about the surge is, I would not have expected even September to be a good time to begin evaluating it. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government, which is supposed to be able to function better in the increased security brought on by the surge, is losing participants cabinet and parliament members are being pulled out by their parties.


    As stated in that link, what is the surge for if not to give the government of Iraq a chance to succeed? The biggest problem in Iraq is the lack of cooperation between political parties, religious sects, tribes. Regardless of what happens with the surge, these different groups in Iraq need to start getting along better, or all our military efforts will be in vain.

    Also, it is very dangerous to place faith in the activities of the Sunni tribes of the Anbar province. I see no indication that, in the long run, they want to cooperate with Shiites in Iraq, or even support a democratic, secular government in that country. If you have evidence of this, please point me to it.

    Stumbley, I’m afraid that I don’t see how our military involvement in Iraq is helping with respect to any of the questions you listed in your comment.

  21. Ymarsakar Says:

    Needed for what?

    The “surge” depended on Iraqi politicians and security forces doing their jobs, too.

    I guess some people just can’t learn anything new, Neo. And that’s sad, given the progress some folks have had since 9/11. It simply contrasts the lack of progress by others in far uglier tones.

    Ignorancy may be cured, but after 6 years… the opporunity for learning has long passed you by. There’s a time for everything, and thus you can always miss your opportunity.

    Whatever our troops in Iraq do now is almost irrelevant.

    Whatever the soldiers do to protect women and children have nothing to do with the Iraqi government’s ability to function in a terrorist environment in which their children and wives are threatened with execution if they do not behave according to Shariah Law.

    Everyone here obviously agrees with the above summated Alphie position, right?

  22. Sally Says:

    Bonnie: As for Islamic fascists quests of a worldwide Ummah, they are doing a damn good job of it in your democratic systems.

    “They”? Don’t you mean “we”, Bonnie?

    With that little adjustment, I’d say Bonnie actually has a point, as recent events in Britain are illustrating. We do need to recognize that there are fascist terrorists amongst us, along with their sympathizers, enablers and abettors — “Bonnie” herself being a good illustration — and that they mean us harm, unless, of course, we do as they tell us. We need to decide either to do as we’re told, or fight back. And if we decide on the latter, we better mean it, for as long as it takes.

  23. Lee Says:

    In fact, Bonnie, hasn’t it been Europe whose homeland has been invaded by muslims since 700 A.D.? Wasn’t it the muslims who took the Levant from the Byzantines? Invaded Spain? France? Anatolia? The Balkans? The Caucasuses? Poland? Austria? India?
    If the muslims can claim any land they ever touched, no matter how long ago, then give back all the land you’ve conquered over the last 1,400 years.
    Boy. For a bunch of guys with “god” on your side, all your nations combined can’t even come up with enough hordes to destroy Israel. And as long as you kill us, Bonnie, we will kill you, no matter how indignant you become about it.

  24. vegas art guy Says:

    No Alphie you have to have security first before you get all those political changes. Maybe if you read more than the Daily Kos and their ilk you might see signs of progress in Iraq. Do you think it’s just some lucky break that all the tribal leaders in Anbar are now cooperating with the coalition as well as the 1920 brigade? Or could it actually be the new strategy that is in place. And Alphie if you had paid attention the plan was in place first and as the troops arrived more and more of it was implimented. But hey, lets not let reality intrude on your vision of how things are in your world.

  25. fashion illustration Says:

    fashion illustration…

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