The Surge’s effectiveness in bringing down the rate of deaths in Iraq is stunning. Naysayers (and there are a few who hang out here), have already moved the goal posts, saying that the Surge hasn’t worked because (a) all the necessary internecine, tribal, religious, etc., killing was already done before the Surge kicked in and (b) the Surge was supposed to bring instant harmony to the Iraqi government. Both these arguments are specious.
As to the first, that argument is belied by the direct correlation between the Surge and the drop in casualties. It’s possible, of course, that the Surge just coincidentally happened at precisely the same moment the Islamist slaughterers decided that they had succeeded in their bloody work. Possible, but hardly probable. That’s an argument only for those who resent the fact that more troops on the ground mean less deaths in Iraq.
And as to the second, that’s a cart before the horse argument. Government cannot be stable if the country is awash in violence. For one thing, the violence surges upwards, with assassinations being used in lieu of ballot boxes. Only the insanely brave, the foolhardy or the complicit will seek political office under those circumstances. For another thing, the ordinary citizenry can scarcely be expected to think in political terms if survival is its primary issue. When violence declines, when ordinary people of good will can run for office, and when the citizens can view politics as a ballot sport, not a death sport, government tends to stabilize.
The same thing goes for economic stability. When streets are awash in blood, ordinary people cannot develop, sell and buy goods. All they can do is hunker down, which has a stagnating effect on the economy.
The Surge, which has always been a military operation, has achieved its military goals and, with luck and with a continued strong US presence, the political and economic goals will be able to follow.