Maybe He’ll Take Credit For The Soccer Win

As described by its own architects, the Kagan “surge” was meant to provide a window of security so that the Iraqi factions can work out their differences. I guess in Kaganland a few months of light chatting is all it takes to smooth out the factional divide that is tearing Iraq apart, but then people like me aren’t in charge of American policy. Kagan is, so let’s at least look at Iraq on Kagan’s terms.

In the last few days the Iraqi parliament has taken a monthlong recess without accomplishing anything. The steady drumbeat of violence and death goes on unabated. The main Sunni bloc has walked out of Maliki’s government. Reconstruction of the country has largely failed, leaving average Iraqis dramatically worse off than before we invaded.

There should be no doubt that David Petraeus will follow orders from the top and deliver a glowing assessment of our glorious war effort. Petraeus and Peter Pace both know that “commanders on the ground” only last as long as they keep delivering what the president wants. The only mystery is, given that the “surge” has failed to contain violence in Iraq, has not made Iraqi lives better and has not stemmed the figurative and (amazingly) literal civil war inside Maliki’s government, whether Saint Petraeus’s handpicked post hoc metrics will have anything to do with the original goals that Kagan used to justify his “surge.”

It goes without saying that even a country as disasterfied as Iraq must have something going well. That’s why respectable people establish criteria in advance that will determine whether or not an experiment worked. If all of us scientists could do our experiments and then carefully sift and manipulate our data to find the most appealing possible interpretation, huzzah! Every experiment would work. The Kagan experiment set out some fairly clear pass/fail criteria and then failed to meet them, but like a poor first-year grad student Bush can’t accept that his experiments don’t work so he’ll throw in a few numbers from column 2, switch the labels on a couple of figures and hope that nobody asks too many questions.






15 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    As described by its own architects, the Kagan “surge” was meant to provide a window of security so that the Iraqi factions can work out their differences go on vacation. I guess in Kaganland Disneyland a few months of light chatting few spins on Space Mountain is all it takes to smooth out the factional divide that is tearing Iraq apart, but then people like me aren’t in charge of American policy.

    Parliamentary speaker Mahmoud Mashhadani said in a statement issued after Monday’s session that he had dismissed lawmakers until Sept. 4.

    “Parliament has decided to break until early September,” Hussein Falluji of the mainly Sunni Accordance Front bloc in parliament told Reuters.

    “We have already cut the holiday by one month. It is our constitutional right to take it.”

    That’s right, people. How can you say Iraq is descending into chaos when their people still adhere to the time-honored tradition of mandatory vacation?

  2. 2
    Wilfred says:

    More negative comments hurting the effectiveness of the surge. If we just stopped talking about them, the Iraqis would never even know about things like this

  3. 3
    myiq2xu says:

    Petraeus – Surgin’ General

  4. 4
    Jake says:

    If all of us scientists could do our experiments and then carefully sift and manipulate our data to find the most appealing possible interpretation, huzzah! Every experiment would work.

    We have a President that is bestest pals with the same folks who swear they can prove the planet is only 6000 years old (and anyone who argues is going to hell), thus we easily arrive at the following formuala.

    Bush Administration (+) Science (-) impirical [sic] method (+) Faith (x) Stubborn = Iraq.

    I call it the First Law of FUBAR.

  5. 5
    Eural says:

    and hope that nobody asks too many questions.

    And that’s where our wonderous “fourth estate” jumps in to play its crucial – and sadly, successful role – that its had in the Iraq debacle for the past six years.

    My predication – Petraeus will present a neutral to positive leaning report to buy more time with facts and figures easily discredited with 10 seconds and the internet. The Press will dutifuly ignore all contradictions and report progress while hosting anti-war critics for “balance” – such as Kagan, Kristol, Cheney, McCain, etc.

    Oh, yeah – and more US servicemen and women will litter the sands of Iraq for at least another year or two for no reason other than hubris and ignorance.

  6. 6
    ThymeZone says:

    Petraeus – Surgin’ General

    Good one.

    We have to give Petraeus credit. He has pulled of a coup, apparently establishing military rule over the American military instrument in direct contradiction of the Constitution. Now the president is just a sort of secretary to the Pentagon, doing whatever the “generals in the field” tell us to do.

    At the gate they paused, half frightened to go on but Clover led the way in. They tiptoed up to the house, and such animals as were tall enough peered in at the dining-room window. There, round the long table, sat half a dozen farmers and half a dozen of the more eminent pigs, Napoleon himself occupying the seat of honour at the head of the table. The pigs appeared completely at ease in their chairs The company had been enjoying a game of cards but had broken off for the moment, evidently in order to drink a toast. A large jug was circulating, and the mugs were being refilled with beer. No one noticed the wondering faces of the animals that gazed in at the window.

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    Now the president is just a sort of secretary to the Pentagon, doing whatever the “generals in the field” tell us to do.

    Uh, yeah right. If Petraeus steps out of line, he can toss his stars in the pile with all the rest of Bush’s discarded generals.

  8. 8
    TenguPhule says:

    He has pulled of a coup, apparently establishing military rule over the American military instrument in direct contradiction of the Constitution.

    If only that were so, because even the military articles of justice pretty much spell out the penalty for doing that IIRC.

  9. 9
    Andrew says:

    I think President Ron Paul might just be crazy enough to execute people like Kagan. Hmmm.

  10. 10
    carol h says:

    In Iraq even the soccer win is not without a downside. My son is in the Army currently deployed in Ramadi. He says that in Ramadi alone the celebrations following the win killed at least 7 people, most by the random gunfire used in the celebrations. On his base, Camp Blue Diamond, a civilian contractor was hit in the head by a stray bullet fired from outside the base. He knows the contracter was airlifted out but he doesn’t know his status. Can you imagine the coverage on the news in the US if 7 people (at least) had died following an atheletic match? In Iraq, though, it is just another violent day. BTW, someone here asked me how my son and his fellow soldiers survived the summer heat. He said it really sucks and he he drinks at least 2.5 gallons of water a day and barely pees. Maybe he should get a nice vacation like the Iraqi parliament.

  11. 11
    Zifnab says:

    Can you imagine the coverage on the news in the US if 7 people (at least) had died following an atheletic match?

    Lakers win the Championship?

  12. 12
    Johnny Pez says:

    Can you imagine the coverage on the news in the US if 7 people (at least) had died following an atheletic match?

    Lakers win the Championship?

    I don’t think heart attacks count.

  13. 13
    Tax Analyst says:

    Zifnab Says:

    Can you imagine the coverage on the news in the US if 7 people (at least) had died following an atheletic match?

    Lakers win the Championship?

    It would take a lot more than 7 people dying for the Lakers to win with their current roster. I love having Derek Fisher back, but that might be 6 or 7 wins more at most in the Regular Season. That still = 1st or 2nd round & out in the Play-offs, at best.

    Kagan? Attempting to blind us with Bullshit. Mission – NOT Accomplished. Our local “All-News” Radio Station, KNX aired a brief interview with Kimberly Kagan about the “Surge”, and she gushed on-and-on for the brief segment about how well it was working (this was about 2 weeks ago) I was reaching a highly apoplectic state before they finally added a tag line AFTER the interview that she was the spouse of the Author of the Surge policy. It’s still bullshit that they didn’t bring that up DURING the interview and at least ask her what size cheerleader outfit she wore.

  14. 14
    Joshua says:

    If all of us scientists could do our experiments and then carefully sift and manipulate our data to find the most appealing possible interpretation, huzzah! Every experiment would work.

    Isn’t that called “meta-analysis”? ;)

  15. 15
    Tsulagi says:

    carol h,

    Your comment reminded me of a story a friend told me.

    He was at an FOB in Iraq in 04 when all at once a huge amount of small arms fire erupted 360 around the base. Then explosions. CBR (a radar thing) started picking up mortar rounds in the air from multiple locations. The rounds weren’t coming directly at the base, but since insurgents can’t accurately hit shit with a mortar that didn’t seem too odd. Fire solutions were calculated and the big guns were readied to respond.

    He said he was thinking holy shit, this might be some Arab Tet. That any moment hordes of jihadis were going to storm the wire screaming Allah Akbar.

    And then…they found out the Iraqi soccer team had won a game in the 04 Summer Olympics. Iraqis were celebrating. Had to laugh.

    But it illustrates a point. Iraqis have always been armed. If going to a wedding, they bring (or did) their AKs to toast the bride and groom. Kid comes home with an A on a report card, that calls for at least a short burst. They always had the capability to take out Saddam. They choose not to. On your feet or on your knees. They decided.

    So now there’s a civil war being fought for turf and power. The only thing we’re doing is putting a lid on top to keep it at a slow burn. But whether we’re there or not, the end result will be the same.

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