My theory about the popularity of a “more troops” strategy for Iraq among pundits and politicians had been that they knew this wasn’t going to happen. By recommending a course of action that you know won’t be adopted, you’ll get to blame the catastrophe on Iraq on (a) treasonous anti-war types, and (b) George W. Bush while leaving super-hawk ideology unscathed. The trouble, of course, is that Bush now looks set to embrace the “surge” strategy. So Jack Keane and Fred Kagan take to the pages of The Washington Post to argue that a three or six month surge “would virtually ensure defeat.” Instead we need “a surge of at least 30,000 combat troops lasting 18 months or so.”
Once you’re talking about an 18 month deployment, of course, you’re not really looking at a surge. And the logistics of producing the surge by extending deployments start to get much more difficult. So Bush may get his surge and Kagan may still get to claim his brilliant strategy was never adopted after all. Be that as it may, the point is that this war will still be in full-swing — possibly even further escalated beyond where it is today — during the 2008 campaign.
Plus: Double entendre of the day: “The only ‘surge’ option that makes sense is both long and large.”
UPDATE: Paradox of the day, J-Pod: “The key here is time. A ‘temporary’ troop surge will be a disaster.” A permanent surge, sure. Just remember, ignorance is strength.