Reply to American Pessimist about the Gains of the Surge
By Con George-Kotzabasis–This was written on June, 2009
Andrew Lebovich continues pessimistically to ruminate on his doubts about the surge and on General Petraeus’s counterinsurgency plan. He states, “The strategic outcome of the surge cannot be determined now” as it depends on the establishment of a democratic Iraq “after our occupation…has ended.” And if the gains of the surge are so fragile and can be lost with a resurgence of al Qaeda how can one say that “Petraeus’s counterinsurgency plan is proven,” as is stated by McCain? He is also concerned about the “Sons of Iraq and other local militias’ being integrated “into the Iraqi security forces” and some of the corrupt practices of the Iraqi government.
Starting in reverse of his concerns, it’s decal like clear that he has not learned anything from the mistakes of the Bush administration when in toto disbanded the Iraq army instead of integrating it in the new army of the Interim government that would have forestalled the future insurgency. The Maliki government is integrating the Sons of Iraq and other militias and hence effectively disarming them instead of letting them hibernate until a possible next round of violence. Lebovich also is oblivious of the fact that corruption affects all governments that have not as yet found their point of stability and their members have a strong proclivity to get as much as they can from an assumed short term in office. However, with the stabilization of the government, as it seems to be happening now in Iraq, corruption can no longer be a stable staple feeding the mouths of corrupt officials.
As to the gains emanating from the surge, Lebovich apparently is unaware that one may have a perfect investment plan that will give one immense gains but if one “misinvests” or squanders these gains in boondoggle projects one is bound to lose them. This however does not impugn or diminish in any way the perfection of the original investment plan. And Petraeus’s counterinsurgency strategy falls in this category. The danger lies in squandering these gains, as McCain correctly says, before they reach their stated goal, i.e., a democratic Iraq.
Lastly, Lebovich does not perceive that even the most successful of counterinsurgency strategies can only be effective in a different geopolitical milieu if they make the necessary improvisations and modalities in the new context of their implementation. And this elementary principle applies in Afghanistan.
I rest on my oars: Your turn now…