If you look back at what the Bush administration was saying about the surge at the first of the year, it is clear that it failed to achieve any of the goals that had been set out. Regardless of whether “security” in Baghdad has been enhanced is beside the point. The issue was not whether or not more troops would provide more security - that was a given - it was whether or not providing that window of added security would make any difference to the Iraqi government in its efforts to reconcile differences between feuding factions and get on track to take back control of their country. That clearly did not happen.
E&P points out some other areas where the surge fell short of its goals:
The president said then....
“To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq’s provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation’s political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq’s constitution.”
None of this happened.
Interestingly enough, Bush also said this at the time...
"I’ve made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq’s other leaders that America’s commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people -- and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people.”
Bush already lost the support of the American people a long time ago. He is only still clinging to power because our political system is so slow to respond to changes in the electorate. There was a huge shift in the political power structure in 2006, but not enough to completely dislodge Republicans who still have the power to block the majority’s will with vetoes and filibusters. However, it looks like a second GOP bloodbath is just around the corner as analysts are now predicting six Republican Senate seats are likely to go blue and maybe more.
It was known from the very beginning of the surge that the troops levels could not be maintained at that level very far into 2008. Now it appears that Bush is planning to take our already strained military and push it past the breaking limit by extending the surge all the way into next summer, at which point he will grudgingly reduce troop levels back to their pre-surge level.
And this, he will pretend, is supposed to be the middleroad-compromise position. Harry Reid is right to throw that back in his face.