The purpose of Bush's surge was to increase stability so that the Iraqi government could take control. After several months there is less of an Iraqi government than there was when the surge started and no indication that there is any possibility political reconciliation in the foreseeable future. That is to say in spite of the transient military advances the surge is a failure. Even the alleged improvements in the security situation are misleading. In Baghdad the improvements may have more to do with the fact that the Shiites have completed their ethnic cleansing of the city and there are simply fewer people to kill. As we have seen in the past in security improvements will evaporate once the US troops leave which they will start doing in March or April. Without political improvements the surge is a failure. We have this from the Washington Post.
Democrats Refocus Message on Iraq After Military Gains
Criticism Shifts to Factional Unrest
Democratic leaders in Congress had planned to use August recess to raise the heat on Republicans to break with President Bush on the Iraq war. Instead, Democrats have been forced to recalibrate their own message in the face of recent positive signs on the security front, increasingly focusing their criticisms on what those military gains have not achieved: reconciliation among Iraq's diverse political factions.Now there are several problems with this paragraph. I don't think there were many of us war opponents who didn't think that a temporary increase in US forces would result in a temporary security improvement. That said the goal of the surge has not been realized - there has been no political progress and in fact it's further away now than it was before the surge began. That makes it a failure. That doesn't stop the war supporters from gloating.
Democrats Miscalculate On Iraq
Democrats figured that the August recess would give them plenty of opportunity to raise the heat on Republicans to force a withdrawal date from Iraq. They could return to their home districts, stoke some demonstrations, and return with new momentum after Labor Day to push for retreat. Unfortunately, events have intervened, and now Democrats have to regroup to avoid looking like defeatists while the military effort has started producing successes:Sorry Ed, this is going to turn out to be a 2008 disaster fro the Republicans. With no sign of political progress and a forced US draw down beginning in April by late spring or early summer the chaos that is Iraq will be back to pre-surge levels. That's only a few months before the November elections.
The Democrats should acknowledge the transient security improvements but emphasize that with no success on the political level the surge is a failure.