Sunday, August 3, 2008

Experience and Judgement Are Not Seperate Issues

The Weekly Standard article Rewards of Wisdom - As McCain's stand on the surge shows, experience cannot be separated from judgment, makes an important point. Judgement and exerience are inextricably tied together. Senator McCain's position on the surge is a vivid illustration of this. His extensive military and foreign policy experience is the reason he knew what strategy would be most effective. Now success in Iraq is a reality not a political debate.
Bush sided with McCain, who had been calling for additional troops and a counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq since late summer 2003. We wonder what might have been averted--and what might have been accomplished--if Bush had adopted McCain's strategy five years ago. Whatever might have been, it was Bush's decision in 2007 that clearly put the United States and Iraq on the path to success. Those who attribute the gains in Iraq to other causes are deluding themselves. The Anbar Awakening might not have survived a year had it not been for the surge's demonstration of American commitment and resolve. Sadr fled to Iran and declared numerous "cease-fires" because Generals Petraeus and Odierno's full-spectrum warfare caught him off-guard. The sectarian militias were denied a safe haven and separated from the Iraqi population through effective counterinsurgency policies.

There is plenty to complain about in how we went to war, or why we went to war. However, denying success and pretending that that success was not due to the surge is foolish, and it's dishonest. This is important not because it shows that Senator McCain was 'right'. It's important because it shows that Senator McCain knows how handle military strategy. The United States is still engaged in military actions in Afghanistan, and there are still serious threats posed by radical Islamists. Foreign policy is often discussed as if time could be reversed and the country could fix its mistakes. It can't. As a country we have to play the cards that are on the table, and Senator McCain has shown that he is the most capable person to play that hand.

Experience and Judgement Key in the Surge's Success

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