View Full Version : The Surge is Only the First Step

10-22-07, 07:00 AM
October 22, 2007
The Surge is Only the First Step
By Jeff Emanuel

[Editor's note: Jeff Emanuel has been in Iraq for the last ten weeks, embedded on the front lines. This is the first of two eyewitness reports on the state of the Surge, based on his reporting there.]

The situation in Iraq is more complex than you ever thought -- and the products of the 'Surge' are far too fragile to survive a Coalition drawdown

Samarra, Iraq
In January of this year, General David Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to take command of multinational forces in Iraq. After the failed strategy of General George Casey, now Chief of Staff of the Army, Petraeus and his new ideas for how best to handle the situation in Iraq were seen as a breath of fresh air -- not to mention a last option for an administration whose Party and legacy have been tied inexorably to the outcome of its abortive nation-building effort in the Middle East.

A successful commander in Iraq (with the 101st Airborne in Mosul), the holder of a Ph. D from Princeton, and the author of the Army’s new field manual on Counterinsurgency (FM 3-24), Petraeus brought with him a new approach to the fight to secure Iraq from the insurgent and terrorist population which had taken hold there. To carry out his plan, he requested – and was granted – a 30,000-soldier ‘surge’ in troop levels, the main effort of which was tasked with securing Baghdad, the extremely large capital city which is as rife with sectarian fault lines and, in many areas, as violent as can be imagined. Further, the Coalition’s combat power would be moved out of the obscenely large (and, believe it or not, relatively plush) ‘Super FOBs’ (Forward Operating Bases) established and built up under General Casey, and would once again (like in 2003-04) be based out of myriad tiny Patrol Bases and Combat Outposts, located out in the midst of each occupying unit’s area of operations and sector of responsibility.

This is a key difference between Petraeus’s strategy and that of General Casey, which involved pulling Coalition forces back to giant bases and minimizing the friendly foreign presence in sector in favor of putting forward an Iraqi security force and government which simply, and unfortunately, was not ready to take that step.

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10-23-07, 07:16 AM
October 23, 2007
The Coalition and Iraq
By Jeff Emanuel
[Editor's note: Jeff Emanuel has been in Iraq for the last ten weeks, embedded on the front lines. This is the second of two eyewitness reports on the state of the Surge, based on his reporting there. The first part is here.]

In April and May of this year, and again from the beginning of August through October, I was embedded with the U.S. military in some of the most kinetic combat zones in Iraq, observing Gen. Petraeus's strategy from the ground level in several different locations -- including with the undermanned units and in the sparsely covered areas mentioned above -- and I have seen the outstanding effort being made by the Coalition forces there, as well as clear evidence of the strategy's effects on the overall situation.

I have personally observed public clinics, in which Coalition medics and doctors provided Iraqi tribesmen and villagers with a level of care that had been unheard-of in this country even before the fall of Saddam Hussein. I have toured reconstruction sites being worked on by Iraqi contractors, and have ridden along in gun-truck escorts whose job is to protect these men as they work to rebuild their own country -- while terrorists, whether to prove some unfathomable point, or simply because, to their deranged minds, it is the correct course of action, try not only to kill them, but to destroy any and all improvements they have managed to provide for their own countrymen in infrastructure and quality of life.