Apparent Effectiveness [hilzoy]

One of my co-bloggers at Obsidian Wings has posted a very interesting take on what we're doing in Iraq. He writes:

"Petraeus knows that if he cannot provide a good report card on the surge, Congress is likely to try and put an end to it. Therefore, it should surprise no one that Coalition forces in Iraq are focused on goals that will maximize the apparent effectiveness of the surge."

He then draws out some of what this comes to in practice, and concludes:

"I do not blame Petraeus for choosing this course of action; if he cannot convince Congress to sustain the surge, nothing else will matter because the U.S. will draw down to levels incapable of winning the war. (And no, I'm not at all certain the surge provides enough troops to win, either.) Nor do I blame Representatives and Senators seeking to get the U.S. out of Iraq; while my own feelings remain mixed, to pretend there aren't good reasons to get out of Iraq is to blind one's self to reality. Nonetheless, the confluence of those reasonable concerns leads us to a decidedly bad place, where U.S. troops are focused on threats to their ability to continue their mission while setting aside threats to their ability to accomplish their mission."

It's very much worth reading.