Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said on Fox News this morning that the recent surge in Iraqi violence is a sign that the extremists are “worried.” Kristol said, “If I were a Sunni extremist and was worried, which I would be, about a doubling of U.S. forces in Baghdad, what would I do? I would try to convey an impression of chaos.”
He added, “On the whole over the last two weeks, some of the news for Iraq is slightly optimistic.” Watch it:
In fact, recent reports from Iraq note that the escalation is “failing to bring results.” Here are some of the deadly acts of violence that have taken place in the last week alone:
January 28: Mortar shells rained down on a girls’ secondary school in a mostly Sunni area of western Baghdad, killing at least five students and wounding 20.
January 29: A daylong battle with heavily armed Iraqi fighters witnessed the downing of a U.S. helicopter, killing two U.S. troops.
January 30: Bombings, mortar attacks, and shootings killed at least 36 people across Iraq.
January 31: Bombers struck Shiite worshipers during ceremonies marking Ashura, the holiest day of the Shiite calendar. At least 58 people were killed.
February 1: At least 24 Iraqis were killed and dozens injured in bomb blasts, gunfire and other violence.
February 2: A pair of suicide bombers detonated explosives among shoppers in a crowded outdoor market Thursday in a Shiite city south of Baghdad. The attack killed 45 people and wounded 150.
February 3: A suicide bomber killed 135 persons yesterday in the deadliest single explosion in Iraq since the 2003 war began.
February 4: For the first time, the U.S. command publicly acknowledges that four downed U.S. helicopters were lost due to enemy fire.
WALLACE: Terrible bombing. another terrible bombing. One of the worst single bombings of the war in Baghdad. More than 130 people killed. Bob Gates saying that these units, Iraqi units are arriving in Baghdad at 55% manpower. Same question I asked Senator Graham: can 17,000 U.S. soldiers make all that much of a difference in a city of 6 million?
KRISTOL: Yeah, doubling the U.S. troop presence in Baghdad can make a big difference. Look, if I were a Sunni extremist and was worried, which I would be, about a doubling of U.S. forces in Baghdad, what would I do? I would try to convey an impression of chaos. I would get the biggest truck bomb possible and drive it into a market in a Shiite area. If that’s going to drive us out of Iraq, that’s just ridiculous.
That would just send a message to any place we have interests, all the most ruthless group of terrorists has to do is kill a bunch of civilians and we’re going to leave. There’s no evidence they can stand up to U.S. troops and quite a bit of evidence that they’re worried. On the whole over the last two weeks, some of the news for Iraq is slightly optimistic. It’s going to be tough, but I see nothing that persuades me that the surge can’t work quite well.