Tuesday, July 22, 2008

American Media Has Internalized Lie About Surge (UPDATE 3)

UPDATE 1: Rewrote first paragraph, added facts about when McCain made his proposal
UPDATE 2: New Combined Chart!
UPDATE 3: Updated Anbar Awakening timeline

Back in October, 2006, John McCain called for increasing the number of troops in Iraq by 20,000.  At that time U.S. troop levels in Iraq were about 144,000, while the maximum had been, a year earlier, 160,000.  The narrative being pushed by the media is as follows: John McCain was wise for supporting the surge, the surge has succeeded, and Obama, who said it wouldn't work, is just plain wrong.

The following chart shows total troop strength, as reported by the Iraq Index of the Brookings Institution (as of July 17th, 2008).  Nothing can change the unalterable fact that there was no increase in troops.  The chart shows that the peak of troops occurred in late 2005.  Why do my numbers jibe so badly with what you think you know about reality?  I'm including British, Australian, and other national troops for this one(Don't Forget Poland!) but the next graph shows basically the same thing only including U.S. troops.  More below the graph!

But, even if we take out the non-U.S. troops from the equation, it is clear that the "surge" only brought maximum troop levels only a tiny fraction above their previous highs in late 2005.  John McCain's proposal was just 2.5% percent more than the previous U.S. troop maximum! More below the graph!

Since only a Big Brother, John McCain and Joe Scarborough can easily declare 2 + 2 = 5, or could possibly argue that the decrease in overall troop levels created the increase in security we have seen, let's briefly examine what did change.  The following factors are in chronological order.
  • We are now paying off the Sunni tribes who were trying to kill us a year ago, the so-called "Sunni Awakening" began around August, 2006
  • General Casey, the previous top military commander in Iraq, was little more than a mouthpiece of the Bush administration.  On February 10th, 2007 General Petraeus replaced him.  Please recall that none of America's military professionals have the decade+ of war experience of, say, an Iraqi General (eight years Iran, one year Kuwait).
  • Moqtada al-Sadr declared a ceasefire on August 29th, 2007
I put those facts in the chart below, which otherwise, like all the data in this post, comes from Brooking's Iraq Index.

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