Baghdad Troop Level ConfirmationEvery now and then, it is nice to see outside confirmation that I can occassionally get things right. Newsweek in an article on Iraq's political and security arrangements has an interesting nugget:
A four-star general who declined to be identified discussing a confidential conversation told of this encounter with Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who was in charge of day-to-day ground operations. "Do you have enough forces? Enough to clear an area and stay there to secure it 24/7?" Chiarelli replied, "Of course not." The four-star recalls replying, "It's going to fail, it's absolutely going to fail." The Americans never had enough forces to sweep even half the city, much less secure it.
When I first wrote about Operation Forward Together, I noted that the counter-insurgent ratio to population sucked, and that this dismal ratio would do little to halt Baghdad's slide towards chaos.
So either Operation Forward Together is just a big chomp and stomp raid as the forces involved are too small to be successful throughout the entire city or it is a targetted operation against Sunni Arab neighborhoods. If it is the latter case, the mole starts moving elsewhere to be whacked, and it acts as further confirmation of the belief in the Sunni Arab population that the political process is designed to screw them over.
So great progress will be proclaimed. Impressive press conferences with seemingly large caches of 'insurgent' weaponry will shown. There will be a short term dip in violent attacks in Baghdad, but no real change nationwide, and in three months, Baghdad continues its downward spiral.
The biggest thing I was wrong about in my predictions from June was that Operation Forward Together could produce a postive but temporary deviation from the downward sloping trend towards disorder. It did not even change the trendlines.