The Surge didn’t work, say the Democrats. The Anbar Awakening was happening before the Surge. They’re so off-base that calling them wrong ought to embarrass wrongness.
The Surge was a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for victory in Iraq. The sufficient condition — making Al Qaeda uncool — just would not have happened had we not followed through on our commitment to free Iraq from the tyranny of first Hussein, and then of his fellow travelers in Al Qaeda.
The Surge strategy was not simply to throw troops at the problem. The strategy was to show the Iraqis that we were not going to abandon them, and to do that it was necessary to increase troop levels.
Two Army officers, (Major Niel Smith and Colonel Sean MacFarland (12-page PDF) give the story. (wreath tip: Ace)
For me, the key graph is this (my emphasis):
After securing Ramadi General Hospital, we began an extensive effort to improve its services and to advertise it throughout the city. Prior to our operation there in early July 2006, the hospital’s primary function had been treating wounded insurgents, with most citizens afraid to enter the facility. We also took a different IO tack with the sheiks. Instead of telling them that we would leave soon and they must assume responsibility for their own security, we told them that we would stay as long as necessary to defeat the terrorists. That was the message they had been waiting to hear. As long as they perceived us as mere interlopers, they dared not throw in their lot with ours. When they began to think of us as reliable partners, their attitudes began to change. Still, we had to prove that we meant what we were saying.
Barack Obama would have turned his back on the people of Iraq, who would have learned that the forces of radical Islam are their true friends.
John McCain, on the other hand, called for a different strategy and increased troop commitments from the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
And thanks to John McCain’s Surge, Al Qaeda has been totally discredited.
Is there any doubt who should be Commander-in-Chief?