Late to the Party


Shockingly enough, it seems that the surge isn't working after all. Not only is it not working as an effort to advance American strategic interests, it can't even achieve its own self-proclaimed tactical objectives of securing Baghdad neighborhoods: "American and Iraqi forces were able to 'protect the population' and 'maintain physical influence over' only 146 of the 457 Baghdad neighborhoods."

The crucial problem was that the planners who "had assumed most Baghdad neighborhoods would be under control around July" are disappointed "in large part because Iraqi police and army units, which were expected to handle basic security tasks, like manning checkpoints and conducting patrols, have not provided all the forces promised, and in some cases have performed poorly." Indeed, it turns out that "The heavily Shiite security forces have also repeatedly failed to intervene in some areas when fighters, who fled or laid low when the American troops arrived, resumed sectarian killings." Who could have guessed, I ask you?

In short, it's still true that Iraq's problems are political in nature and still true that the US military has no way of creating a non-sectarian government that people will be loyal to.