The “Surge” as policy

The Defense Department, in a new national defense strategy, also emphasized the need to subordinate military operations to “soft power” initiatives to undermine Islamist militancy by promoting economic, political and social development in vulnerable corners of the world.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he hoped the change would help establish permanent institutional support for counterinsurgency skills acquired in Iraq and Afghanistan within a defense community heavily skewed in favor of expensive conventional and strategic modernization programs.

Your homework assignment:  go and read Petreaus’ book[*2] .  Then go read the new National Defense Policy[*3] (both PDF’s).  Then you will understand that “The Surge” was about much more than just throwing 30,000 more troops at the Iraq mess.  It was about understanding, adapting, and winning the trust of the local population.  Which, in Iraq, we have largely now done.  Now it’s required to maintain that trust–by leaving, if that’s what they want.  But from all reports, that’s not really what they want, although some Iraqis will say so for perfectly understandable politcal reasons.