Everytime you look around, another member of the Kagan family crawls out of the woodwork to shout hurrahs for the Iraq war and proclaim the so-called “surge” to be a resounding success. The latest of these is Kimberly Kagan, who is married to Frederick Kagan (architect of “the surge”) and who is the sister-in-law of Robert Kagan (Frederick Kagan’s brother, and a leading cheerleader for the surge). Here she is, vomiting out the same old garbage at the Opinion Journal [emphasis mine]:
Today, Iraq is a different place from what it was six months ago. U.S. and Iraqi forces began their counterinsurgency campaign in Baghdad in February. They moved into the neighborhoods and worked side-by-side with Baghdadis. As a result, sectarian violence is down. The counterinsurgency strategy has dramatically decreased Shiite death squad activity in the capital. Furthermore, U.S. and Iraqi special forces have removed many rogue militia leaders and Iranian advisers from Sadr City and other locations, reducing the power of militias.
As a consequence, execution-style killings, the hallmark of Shiite militias, have fallen to the lowest level in a year; some Iranian- and militia-backed mortar teams firing on the Green Zone have been destroyed. Equally important, U.S. and Iraqi forces have restricted al Qaeda’s bases to ever smaller areas of the city, so that reinforcements cannot flow easily from one neighborhood to another.
Many in Washington say the Baghdad Security Plan has just pushed the enemy to other locations in Iraq. Though some of the enemy certainly left Baghdad when the security plan began, this metaphor is inaccurate. The enemy has long been located outside of Baghdad and was causing violence from suburban bases. What has changed is the disposition of U.S. forces, which are now actively working to expel the enemy from its safe havens rather than ignoring them.
Aside from the fact that Kagan does not know what a metaphor is, she apparently does not know the history of the war. U.S. forces are “actively working to expel the enemy from its safe havens” — as opposed to before the surge, when U.S. forces “ignored” them? Has she heard of Fallujah? Ramadi? Mosul? Tal Afar? Does she know that “clear, hold, and build” was the Bush administration “strategy” long before “the surge” was a gleam in her husband’s eye?
… For the first time, U.S. forces are working systematically throughout central Iraq to secure Baghdad by clearing its rural “belts” and its interior, so that the enemy cannot move from one safe haven to another. Together, the operations in Baghdad and the “belts” are increasing security in and around the capital.
But for some reason she still feels the need to hedge her bets:
This is war, and the enemy is reacting. The enemy uses suicide bombs, car bombs and brutal executions to break our will and that of our Iraqi allies. American casualties often increase as troops move into areas that the enemy has fortified; these casualties will start to fall again once the enemy positions are destroyed. Al Qaeda will manage to get some car and truck bombs through, particularly in areas well-removed from the capital and its belts.
Indeed. One might even predict that al Qaeda will manage to get some “spectacular” car and truck bombs through.
But what are a few “individual atrocities” when you are paid huge sums of money to “study war” from a well-appointed office in Washington, D.C.? Or, to be more specific, when you and your husband were on the research team that conceived and designed the surge to start with?
See Glenn Greenwald’s March 12 piece for more on the family Kagan “surge monopoly.”