The Surge, in General

From Joe Conason Salon:

When Gen. David Petraeus testifies Monday on the effects of the American troop escalation in Iraq, don’t expect him to dwell on the strategic irrelevance of the “surge,” which was supposed to revive chances for political reconciliation among that country’s warring ethnic and religious factions. Were the surge to be judged by that original metric — a reduction in violence sufficient to encourage real cooperation among the warring sides — then it has certainly failed so far.

The commanding general can be expected to sidestep such unpleasant topics and to focus attention instead on Anbar province, which President Bush himself has declared an exemplary “success” — and on the Pentagon’s hotly disputed casualty and incident statistics, which supposedly prove the value of the surge.

Original DVD cover.

But now the White House and the Pentagon, up against growing domestic pressure for withdrawal from Iraq, would like to convince us that they have happy numbers showing that more U.S. troops has meant fewer dead Iraqis. The underlying methodology may be highly questionable, as the Government Accountability Office has argued. (Petraeus has retorted that the GAO methodology is wrong because it makes the same alleged mistakes as the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency — a somewhat confusing response, since the DIA is the Pentagon’s own agency.)


The results may depend on how military analysts decide to enumerate each specific incident — determining whether a killing should be categorized as sectarian, combat related or criminal. And such results can be altered depending on the political needs of the moment.

Indeed, the Pentagon has reportedly gone back over the 2006 data in anticipation of the upcoming hearings on Iraq policy. Meanwhile, however, the safest assumption is that the numbers cited by Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker to measure the success of the surge reflect the broadly flawed approach criticized last year by the Iraq Study Group.


Whether the escalation has made any substantial impact on Iraqi security will remain arguable, perhaps, although the numbers above, bolstered by many others, suggest strongly that it has not. There is, however, one number that can only rise as we deploy more U.S. troops to Iraq: the number of American combat deaths. For the six-month Friedman Unit in 2005, that statistic was 384; for the FU in 2006, it was 345; and for the FU just completed in August, the number was 577.

Now there’s a way to measure success.

We’re kicking ass!! (Winky-winky!)

Get pissed off and do something!! Get on the Road2DC


Filed under Chimpy, CIA, GAO, General Petraeus, George W. Bush, GWOT, humor, Iraq War, movies, parody, Pentagon, politics, Ryan Crocker, snark

24 responses to “The Surge, in General

  1. gottagrip

    AAAAAAaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!! I love the smell of bullshit in the morning!!!!! Nothing starts the week off right like a hot steaming bowl of it!!!!!!

    MMMMMmmmmmmm, gooooooood!!!!!!!

  2. nonnie9999

    i cannot for the life of me understand how someone who has made the service his career can care so little about the troops. how can he lie for this shithead?
    and, while we are on the subject, what has happened to lute, the war czar? hear anything about him lately?

  3. gottagrip

    Nope. The silence is deafening……

  4. nonnie9999

    maybe he should change his name from lute to mute.

  5. Hey Nonnie!! 😛

    You can tell from the happy faces on this newest DVD cover that things in Iraq are great! I am so pleased, I was beginning to worry that Iraq was falling into disrepair!

    As long as Gen. Petraeus remembers to say it is all the fault of Nuri Al-MALIKI when he goes before congress on Monday. The General is quoted in the paper as saying that sending 30,000 more troops into the war zone in January had failed to yield the desired results.

    It is perfectly OK to say that the surge didn’t work, but the General must say WHY it didn’t work. Otherwise congress will get despondent and want to bring the troops home.

    The surge didn’t work because of Al-MALIKI. Al-MALIKI screwed the surge up, it was Al-MALIKI’s fault, it was him, yes, he made the surge fail. Singlehandedly.

    Congress more or less understands this already, but they will want the General’s verification that this is what conditions on the ground are saying as well. Senators know that it’s important to get conditions-on-the-ground’s opinion, and not just rely on insider-beltway’s theories. If all goes to plan, congress will understand that the way forward is to get rid of Al-MALIKI first, then have your surge.

  6. nightowl724

    Nonnie, you had me at the title, “The Surge, In General.” Great post, as always!

    Most assuredly the surge mission is “working!” The method Bush uses to make this mumbo jumbo message magically and mystically materialize is to morph the goals, manipulate the data, massage our memories, mold our minds, mix a few metaphors, and…WINK. As gottagrip mentioned, this miracle of madness is “MMMMMmmmmmmm, gooooooood!!!!!!!”

  7. nightowl724

    Mama mia! I misunderestimated myself when I missed mentioning in my mastermind list that Mister Bush would maneuver to “manufacture misstatements, and machinate with the mass media (MSM).” My bad…

  8. Friend of the court

    It is not that difficult to classify the deaths in Iraq, they are mostly, criminal. Including, the deaths which may have been prevented if the medical system had not been destroyed by Bush’s criminal invasion and the deaths of the elderly and very young caused by killer heat and lack of electricity. I’m sure that the cocky little nit wit in ‘chief’, believes that it is all worth it. No one has aided the cause of terrorism or done more damage to the US, than GWB.

  9. nightowl724


    As you have often said, Dubya is the biggest terrorist of them all. I can’t shake the fact I read a few weeks back – that more than half of all Iraqis are under the age of 18. Think of it! The youthful lives we have shattered and the young, strong new generation of America-haters we have created. It boggles the imagination…

  10. Friend of the court

    I know that if an army came to my country and killed my family and neighbors, it would not make me want to practice their form of government.

    It is ironic that the news about OBL’s latest production, is all about “convert to Islam….”, or else. The Christians have been spreading that “good news”, for years.

    Submit, to the right god, and there will be peace. Missionary zeal for holy war is the new world order, same as the old world order. Only, now, the world is too crowded to run and too wired to hide.

  11. nightowl724

    “Submit, to the right god, and there will be peace.”

    Yes, but it has to be MY god, who happens to be the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

  12. Friend of the court

    Noodles Rule!!!

  13. Friend of the court

    Speaking of flying, I wrote a poem this AM.
    Flights of geese
    that cackle
    move above the
    falling leaves.

    They crackle
    and hiss along
    the wind’s direction
    and lay under
    the silver moon.

    I’d rather write
    than rake. 🙂

  14. nightowl724

    That’s beautiful, fotc, absolutely beautiful.

    I live way out in the country. Our neighbors have a large pond, and a small creek runs through my backyard. We enjoy the ducks and the geese and we have a special fondness for a pair of nesting great blue herons on our property. Of course, there are many other critters for our pleasure (deer, squirrels, bunnies) and pother (field mice, moles, a brown bear)…

    Rake? What is this “rake” of which you speak? Is it some sort of rare bird?

  15. nonnie9999

    oh, my, my! 😮 you kids have been busy!! where do i start?
    mighty mikk0mouse 😀 they are just smirking and winking up a storm, eh? i think you are correct. blame maliki, blame the iraqi government, the iraqi people, the democrats–anyone but themselves, who fucked up everything from the beginning.
    nightowl 😆 marvelous manipulation of messages!
    fotc 😯 how did you know that my bestest friend calls me noodles?! really, not making that up. however, i don’t really rule. i’m just a little bossy. lovely poem. i really think you need to find time to write more (i don’t mean comments here, i mean actual writing. i think you are very talented).

  16. Friend of the court

    It sounds wonderful, where you live. I stay between a busy street and an idiot with a leaf blower. There is a lizard that hangs around the front walk, sometimes. He made the cat put a rip in the screen door, once but, I still like them both. Leaf blower guy is a different story. It’s hard to love thy neighbor when they have a leaf blower.

  17. gottagrip

    My now three year old granddaughter’s nickname is Noodle. She got it when she was a little bitty baby because when she would throw a fit she would just collapse into a limp pile that was almost impossible to hold on to. She still does it. When someone asks her what her name is she always says, “I’m Shelby Noodle.”

    What that has to do with politics is anyone’s guess. I’m blathering like an idiot now.

    Oh, nonnie, you have a pm at the corral unless it’s farted it out. There’s apparently something bad happening in the background mechanics there. At any rate, it’s just directing you to r2dc, where there is important business for you to weigh in on. Your presence, my dear, is required… 😉

  18. nightowl724


    Methinks I detect a bit of coveting thy neighbor’s leaf blower there, you having to rake and all… Does he blow the leaves onto your property?

    And, nonnie is RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT – you should WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!

    Yes, well, I moved out here to fulfill a dream after a lifetime of living in large suburbs of large cities. It is beautiful and I mostly love it. Fewer crimes, friendly “folks,” no traffic, peaceful, pets welcome, lower RE prices and taxes, etc.

    But, I wasn’t quite prepared for the down side of rural culture.

    I’m in religious / redneck territory, so it has been hard to fit in and to find friends even though most everyone is very nice. By sheer luck, I found my best friend next-door, who is smart, informed, and left-leaning.

    By contrast, there are people around here who have never been beyond the small town 20 minutes away (population 4,400) nor do they want to venture any further. The drop-out rate is stunning. When I would visit my son’s elementary school, the school secretary would greet me with, “Oh, it’s our WORKING mom.” The library would fit in a Foto Hut! (Thank goodness for the tubes!)

    Geez – I’m rambling!

  19. nightowl724

    nonnie – or should I say “noodles?” I have an Aunt Bossy. She’s the best!

    “Many” thanks for the compliment!

    Oh, yes. They blame everyone but themselves. “Mistakes were made, but not by me!”

  20. nightowl724


    Your grand-daughter sounds adorable!

    I’m jealous…

  21. gottagrip

    Thank you nightowl, my Noodle is adorable. Headstrong and quite a serious child, very intelligent, with a very big baby heart. She’s one of 8 now, and they’re all adorable.

    I’ve worked at life from the other end of things. I was a country girl nearly all my life, I grew up where the closest town had about 300 people, and that’s the way life has been for me ever since until about two and a half years ago. My youngest son’s graduating class had 7 people in it. Now I live in the suburbs of Chicago with my sister. I love the city, but I miss the farm and will return one day.

    I know what you mean about being in a sea of red. I lived most of my adult life in a county where you can count on one hand the number of democrats at any given time. Very hard to make headway in a place like that. But the people were good people, for the most part, just misguided. I did my best to re-educate them, but they weren’t much for it. On the other hand, the community suppers at the Catholic church where the beer flowed freely were always a hoot….. 😉

  22. nightowl724


    All those grandchildren! Now I’m jealous x 8!

    My graduating class was 1,295 – if you can imagine that! Commencement took HOURS…

    So far, the “good” of country life far outweighs the “bad” and the scene has generally lived up to my expectations. But, I’m doing the “finding myself at 50” thing, so I don’t know what I might do in the future. Unlike what you might find when you return to the farm, I have no family here.

    As I get older, the lure of suburbia – with public transportation and shopping opportunities beyond Wal-Mart could draw me back to my roots. However, even after ten years, I certainly still remember why I left there in the first place!

  23. nonnie9999

    my graduating class numbered 200. the town has changed considerably since i lived there. i would love to find a town like it used to be–small enough to know just about everyone, but close enough to the city so that you didn’t feel isolated and out of the loop. oh, and with no snow.

  24. nightowl724

    I’m an hour or more from various suburbs, an hour and a half from the city. I used to head for one or the other every week or two. But, these days, that’s just too damn far! I don’t even get to either one every month or two anymore. It’s odd that with all the space around me, sometimes I feel very confined.