The Surge Is A Fait Accompliby Doug Mataconis
President Bush doesn’t address the nation for another two hours, but the so-called surge of troops is already starting:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 10, 2007 — President Bush’s speech may be scheduled for tonight, but the troop surge in Iraq is already under way.
ABC News has learned that the “surge” Bush is expected to announce in a prime time speech tonight has already begun. Ninety advance troops from the 82nd Airborne Division arrived in Baghdad today.
An additional battalion of roughly 800 troops from the same division are expected to arrive in Baghdad Thursday. Eighty percent of the sectarian violence occurs within a 30-mile radius of Baghdad so that is where most of the additional troops will be concentrated.
It is the first small wave of troops in a new White House strategy that is expected to put more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq and likely require new call-ups of the National Guard.
The real question is whether 20,000 additional troops will make any difference. If this had happened at the beginning of the occupation — and make no mistake about it, the United States is an occupying power in Iraq even though we don’t want to admit it — it might well have made a real difference. One of the many factors that allowed the insurgency to grow was the instability that followed the collapse of Saddam’s regime. Had there been more boots on the ground, more security, and tighter control of the borders with Iran and Syria, things might very well have been different.
Now, with Iraq in the middle of a civil war, it’s hard to see how even 20,000 more troops is really going to change things.