When Did The Surge In Iraq Start?

With General Petraeus set to discuss the surge strategy in Iraq, it is interesting to see how the start of the surge has been, erm pushed back. In an interview yesterday with Hugh Hewitt, Gen. Petraeus said:

we have been surging our forces during that time [since he was named Commander on February 10]. We have added five Army brigade combat teams, two Marine battalions, and a Marine expeditionary unit, and some enablers, as they’re called. And over the last month, that surge of forces has turned into a surge of offensive operations. . . .

This would establish mid-February as the start of the Surge. This is confirmed in this news report, based on a June 15, 2007 Pentagon report to Congress:

The security operation was launched Feb. 14 and is still unfolding as the last of an additional 28,000 or so U.S. forces are getting into position in and around the Iraqi capital. The Pentagon is required by Congress to provide its initial assessment of the operation in July, and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has said he will report in September.

(Emphasis supplied.) So I think it is fair to say the Surge commenced in mid-February and became fully equipped and staffed by June. The question is do the results from February to June count? WaPo's Bob Kagan, of the Surging Kagan family, (h/t atrios), said yes in March:

The conventional wisdom in December held that sending more troops was politically impossible after the antiwar tenor of the midterm elections. It was practically impossible because the extra troops didn't exist. Even if the troops did exist, they could not make a difference.

Four months later, the once insurmountable political opposition has been surmounted. The nonexistent troops are flowing into Iraq. And though it is still early and horrible acts of violence continue, there is substantial evidence that the new counterinsurgency strategy, backed by the infusion of new forces, is having a significant effect.

. . . No one is asking American journalists to start emphasizing the "good" news. All they have to do is report what is occurring, though it may conflict with their previous judgments. Some are still selling books based on the premise that the war is lost, end of story. But what if there is a new chapter in the story?

Four months have passed since Kagan delivered an assessment of the success of the Surge. Surely it is possible to further assess its success? And surely two months from now an even more comprehensive assessment is possible.

But as Atrios reports, the new line is:

"Just Last Month Since The Surge Began" CNN, repeating [General] Odierno's words . . .

And Petraeus is saying:

we will have a sense by that time of basically, of how things are going, have we been able to achieve progress on the ground, where have their been shortfalls, and so forth. And I think that is a reasonable amount of time to have had all the forces on the ground, again, for about three months, to have that kind of sense. . . .

Why just a sense? I think it is fair to deduce that Petraeus is anticipating an inability to forthrightly report success in any meaningful fashion. Indeed, he knows how he is doing now. And I think he has a fair idea of how he will be doing two months from now. His unwillingness to make Kagan-like pronouncements now or in September speaks to his unwillingess to flat out lie.

But to be sure, what Petraeus is likely to deliver is not going to be a "forthright assessment." Petraeus' unwillingness to provide a real assessment of the Surge in September lets you know that he can not and serve the purposes of his report - to buy more Friedman Units for this strategy.

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    Success (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 02:55:33 PM EST
    Parroted over a six month period= failure. Great use of the wingnut meme: we are winning. Too bad the msm has no memory and no stake in ending the war.  

    I'll try to keep it clean this time. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Edger on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 03:07:31 PM EST
    What a bunch of f'ing hor*e hoc*ey. Jeezus Aitch F'ing Chr*st Almighty. Anyway.

    **ck. Go f'ing big or go f'ing home, Madame Speaker.

    Well, if you listen to the GOP senators, (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by joanneleon on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 03:29:11 PM EST
    that would be the "Grand Obstruction Party" senators, of course, you'd think the surge started either one week ago, two weeks ago, or a month ago.  I've heard all three of those numbers.  Lindsay Graham whined on Meet the Press recently that the surge has only started two weeks ago and we haven't even given it a chance.  They really think we're stupid, don't they?

    Surge Duration (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Gabriel Malor on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 03:57:27 PM EST
    So we've established that the surge began in February and reached full strength in June. Mid-surge assessments had already taken place before full strength was achieved. In a few months we'll be able to make assessments based on the full strength of the project. This is controversial?

    It took the allies (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by kovie on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 06:19:29 PM EST
    less time to plan, prepare for and successfully launch the vastly more massive D-Day than it has this "surge". So spare me this "it's too soon to judge the surge" nonsense. The process has been deliberately drawn--and conceived of in the first place--out for purely political purposes and you know it. Stop lying.

    Planning for Overlord
    By D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allies had been planning for the invasion of Europe for more than two years. In August 1943, the Combined Chiefs of Staff had approved the general tactical plan for the invasion, dubbed Overlord. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commander of the European theater since February 1944, would be responsible for carrying off this bold gambit. The Allies' main strategy, in Eisenhower's words, was to

    . . . land amphibious and airborne forces on the Normandy coast between Le Havre and the Cotentin Peninsula and, with the successful establishment of a beachhead with adequate ports, to drive along the lines of the Loire and the Seine rivers into the heart of France, destroying the German strength and freeing France.

    ...before you make a claim like that.


    Ok, you've got me on a technical (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by kovie on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 05:46:03 AM EST
    But, considering that incomparably vaster scale and scope of D-Day, which was planned and executed over 60 years ago without benefit of computers and satellites and GPS and other modern technology, the fact that it took only 2 years to fully plan and execute compared to this measly (and totally politically motivated which any idiot can see) little "surge" speaks to what a joke it's been, from a policy point of view. Yet more lives thrown on the pyres of Bush and Cheney and the neocons' vanity all because some kid beat them up when they were 12.

    How many more lives need to be sacrificed so that Dick and George and Fred and Bill and Sean and Ann and Michelle finally get to feel like real men?


    Not to Mention (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by squeaky on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 11:47:39 AM EST
    That the Iraq war was 10 years in the planning. Idiots planning produces idiots results.

    Shh (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by kovie on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 12:03:56 PM EST
    It's not a failure until you call it one. Neocon rule #16. Fred Hiatt told me so.

    More ssssh. Fred's lost it. (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Edger on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 12:19:29 PM EST
    Well, actually, Fred never had it.

    Losing is winning in Iraq

    Better hang the leakers.


    You (none / 0) (#28)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Jul 21, 2007 at 04:06:06 PM EST
    need to look things you claim up before you tell people they are lying.  

    In a few months (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 03:58:54 PM EST
    not September apparently.

    I think you missed the point entirely.

    Gabe, you are deteriorating before my eyes.


    Eh? (none / 0) (#10)
    by Gabriel Malor on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 04:17:19 PM EST
    Maybe you could explain that, BTD. It is now July; in a few months (one and a half, actually) it will be September.

    Also, I just enjoyed re-reading your March 7th announcement that the surge wasn't working. You wrote:

    Your pronouncements seem to have been premature. For example, Ramadi was one of the first places in which the surge was implimented. Col. John Charlton writes this week from Ramadi:

    When we arrived in February, we were averaging 30 - 35 attacks per day in our area of responsibility. Now our average is one attack per day or less. We had an entire week with no attacks in our area and have a total of over 65 days with no attacks.


    The city government didn't exist before April of this year, but has grown steadily over the past few months, and is now providing essential services to the population. In areas that were battlefields only a few months ago, city electrical employees are now repairing transformers and power lines. Sanitation workers are fixing sewer leaks caused by hundreds of buried IED's [improvised explosive devices]. The Iraqis now have repaired the electrical grid in about 80 percent of the city and about 50 percent of the rubble has been removed. We expect to have all rubble removed in the next 90 - 120 days, which will allow for many parts of the city to start rebuilding.


    Four months ago, there were no attorneys, judges, or investigators because of the threat from al Qaeda. Now that we have greatly increased security, these legal professionals are coming forward, and we are helping them reestablish the rule of law. Investigative judges are reviewing case files for prisoners in Iraqi jails. They have released many of these prisoners because of lack of evidence, but have also prepared over 100 files for prosecution.


    Once we had completed our large-scale offensive operations in February and March, we realized we needed to provide a massive and quick economic stimulus in order to stabilize the communities within the city. Because of the fighting in the city, the economy was in ruins, and it was clear that it would take some time to get businesses back in operation. We started day labor programs throughout the city to help clear trash and rubble, as well as provide an economic shot-in-the-arm to these devastated communities. These day-labor programs were all planned and executed by company commanders, and their effect was dramatic.


    Despite all the progress we have made with the Iraqis here in Ramadi, the area remains very dangerous.

    Outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Pace  said earlier this week that a "sea change" had resulted from the surge. He said:

    It's no longer a matter of pushing al-Qaida out of Ramadi, for example, but rather -- now that they have been pushed out -- helping the local police and the local army have a chance to get their feet on the ground and set up their systems.

    Me and Kagan (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 04:25:40 PM EST

    What's your point? I am argung that assessment IS possibloe, not that it is not.

    As for yopur success story, whack a mole.

    Call me in a month and see what is happening in Ramadi.


    Yeah (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by kovie on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 06:27:04 PM EST
    They've moved from the sea of mass deception and incompetence to the ocean of enormous delusion and nervous self-preservation--in leaky and rusty old Hoover-era tubs and with old copies of the military plans for the raid on Dieppe and the Battle of the Bulge as life preservers. Yeah, that's going make a difference.

    I sincerely hope for your sake that you're just here spouting talking points and don't actually believe this tripe. Because if you do, OMG.


    How long does it take to deploy ~30,000 troops? (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Strick on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 07:54:59 PM EST
    About 4 months on the average.  Smaller quantities of troops could be deployed more rapidly, but as I'm sure you know, we're a little strapped for resources right now.

    As to the more important part of the timing of the surge, if you read the descriptions of what's been happening, you'll see there have been preparatory operations going on since February, but major operations, what Petraeus promised, began on June 19.  

    With the last U.S. combat brigade in place for the surge, General David Petraeus stated today that combat operations have begun in the Baghdad belts. "Now for the first time we are going to a couple of the really key areas in the belts from which ... al Qaeda has sallied forth with car bombs, additional fighters and so forth," General David Petraeus told reporters in Baghdad. "In the last 24 hours we have launched a number of different offensive operations in the Baghdad belts," Petraeus said.

    Bill Roggio

    Of course, Congress did not fund the surge until 2  months ago, so that's a factor.

    For a better sense of the breadth of the operations and how they're qualitatively and quantitatively different from any US operations in Iraq since 2003, read this report.

    Iraq Report: Operation Phantom Thunder Update

    putting makeup on a corpse... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Dadler on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 12:14:29 AM EST
    ...doesn't bring it back to life.

    all of this is far too little, far too late.

    and has been for a few years now.  


    The Surge Began On March 20, 2003 (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by john horse on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 06:25:20 AM EST
    Why is progress or the lack of progress measured from the start of the escalation of troops in Iraq?  Sometimes when I listen to Bush and the Pentagon it sounds like we have been in Iraq only since the surge.  The surge began on March 2003 when we went from 0 troops in Iraq to 100,000 troops.  Our accomplishments or lack of accomplishments should be measured from when we began the invasion of Iraq, not from the beginning of the surge.  We give do-overs to little children but Bush is not a child (and if he is he should not be treated like a child).  If the over 3,000 American soldiers who died in Iraq aren't getting a do-over then Bush doesn't deserve one either.

    heh (1.00 / 1) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 03:50:40 PM EST
    So I think it is fair to say the Surge commenced in mid-February and became fully equipped and staffed by June.

    If you started walking from New York to Florida in mid February and arrived in mid June, would your walk have been completed in May??

    The answer is obvious. No.

    So All Your (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 03:54:52 PM EST
    Neocon pals have been lying all along. Odds are, that the lying is not going to stop anytime soon, as you prove.

    Nonsequitor (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 03:59:31 PM EST
    If a neocon spouts nonsense in 2001 (none / 0) (#16)
    by kovie on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 06:28:19 PM EST
    Does it make any more sense in 2007?

    The answer is obvious. No.


    The solution is at 66% (none / 0) (#4)
    by Sailor on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 03:39:30 PM EST
    When? (none / 0) (#12)
    by TexDem on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 06:15:06 PM EST
    Last month. No, last week. No, it was only yesterday. No, no wait when does that last private get back from leave? He's the last link to start the surge.

    How long does it take to deploy ~30,000 troops (none / 0) (#13)
    by kovie on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 06:16:47 PM EST
    to a theater in which we already have ~150,000 and a massive infrastructural presence for a military that's been doing this for over four years? Four months seems way excessive (especially for something called a "surge", which implies rapid) and just reeks of deliberate stretching out in order to provide political cover for not being able to conclusively report on its effectiveness in a timely fashion.

    And which I think warrants congressional investigation for possible political tampering with supposedly crucial military operations. Is Bush micromanaging the war and if so is he doing it with political objectives in mind (well, obviously he is, but this still has to be investigated formally to hold anyone accountable for it)? Congress should hold hearings and haul in Edelman (who now has yet other questions to answer) and grill his butt relentlessly.

    Red Queen Logic (none / 0) (#19)
    by scarshapedstar on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 12:25:20 AM EST
    If, at a given moment, the surge is working, then it's already started.

    If, on the other hand, the surge isn't working, it's because it hasn't started yet.

    What's so hard to understand?

    February or June doesn't really.... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Meteor Blades on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 02:23:55 AM EST
    ...matter from the point of view of the inventor of the splurge: Mr. Frederick Kagan. He and General Jack Keane (ret.) argued from the beginning that only a splurge of 18-24 months would do the job.
    And you can expect to hear a lot of that kind of talk in September. The question here, as always, is whether 218 Dems will decide to say enough and not send Mister Bush a bill. I say, unlikely. I wish it were not the case, and I will be happy if I turn out to be wrong.

    Now they're saying ... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Sailor on Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 04:39:41 PM EST
    ... that the escalation can't assessed until november.