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June 27, 2007



The issue with the surge is not that it is, in itself, bad tactics, but rather that it is apprently being substituted for strategy. What benchmarks are we going to use to decide if the surge is working? If it's working, then what, and if not, then what?

To some extent we have to play things by ear - 'no plan survives contact with the enemy' and all - but the continual refusal to plan in any strategic sense is a huge problem. Not only has the administration declined to outline a long term plan* publicly, it does not seem to even want to give the impression of having internal contingency plans. One can only presume they want to give the impression that the only two options are (some ill-defined) "victory", or continued occupation**. Considering the fairly dismal prospects of midwifing a functional state anytime soon, that "plan" would imply to me that we need to immediately get serious about dramatically expanding the military for the long haul. I don't see any signs of that.

Meanwhile, my friends and loved ones are being stop-lossed (or threatened therewith), recalled to active duty, having their dwell-times shortened and their deployments extended. All of which are extraordinary measures set aside for short-term crises, not as a solution to long-term requirements.

So, the administration is doing a few things consonant with the ISG's report. As part of *what* alternate plan?

*By the way, handwaving and storytelling are not the same as planning. If one looks at the AEI "plan" associated with the surge, it bears more resemblance to stage direction than strategy or tactics.

**If one wants to take the position that we're already victorious because we deposed Saddam, fine. We got him in '04 and he's dead now. Can we go home already?

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