Analyzing the Surge
Many conservatives are are ecstatic over the perceived good effects of the surge, which are indisputable. The Petraeus report leaves little doubt of that. However, it would behoove many conservatives to maintain a realistic perspective of the surges effects.
Militarily, it is indisputable that the surge has been a remarkable success. The number of insurgent attacks has declined dramatically since last fall- although there are still over five hundred attacks per week. Violence has plunged in most of Iraq's large cities, and literally dozens of Al Qaeda's leaders have been captured or killed. Petraeus also reveals that Iraqi battalions have been slowly but surely starting to take control of their country.
So is the surge "one of the greatest military strategies of all time", as Sean Hannity is wont to proclaim in moments of hyperbolistic exuberance? No. The Maliki government is still weak and divided, which is a major problem. Although it is not as significant as most Democrats claim, the fact that Iraq has an ineffective government is a serious obstacle to a U.S. withdrawal in the near future.
In addition to this problem, the Bush-Petraeus strategy fails completely to address the problem of Iran. Nuclear considerations aside, Iran is training insurgents, providing them with safe havens, and supplying them with weapons. In the early days of the War, television journalists moonlighting as grizzled military theorists constantly reminded us that it is basic military thinking to strike at the enemies supply lines. By letting Iranians trained killers to slaughter our soldiers with no consequence to Iran is, to my view, a grave mistake by the President.
Although the Iraq surge has not achieved all its goals, it would be a grave mistake to pull out in the face of the success we have accomplished. Apart from the fact that a U.S. defeat would be an enormous PR boost for Al Qaeda, the primary goal of the surge was to end Al Qaeda's military dominance in Iraq. A realistic look at the facts reveals that it has done so. Therefore, it would unfair of Congress, which allowed, however unwillingly, the surge to take place to end it now. It would be a completely unnecessary defeat.