By any measure, the American military troop surge that began in February of 2007 has to be considered a success. In January, death by shooting and execution in Iraq numbered 51 a day. Now it is 18 a day. In January,killings as a result of bombings were 43 a day. Now it is 9 a day. Violence overall is down 55%.Obviously, Iraq is still a violent and dangerous country, and any amount of deaths are a trajedy, but the surge has clearly reduced the number substantially. All of this came about with the addition of approximately 30 thousand additional troops. These numbers certainly beg the question: Why didn't we invade Iraq with more troops to begin with? Colin Powell was a strong advocate of invading with overwhelming troop strength. Then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had the opposite view. He believed in a smaller, more mobile, more agile military presence. In retrospect, it is obvious who was right and who was wrong on this issue. How different would have the Iraq war been had we gone in there with 200,000 troops instead of the 125,000 mandated by Rumsfeld? If a mere 30,000 soldiers can make a signifigant difference, what kind of difference would have been made by 75,000more boots on the ground for the invasion?
While I supported the original invasion of Iraq, it is clear that the occupation has been an ill-planned fiasco. The Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld team had no coherent strategy for post-Saddam Iraq, and despite their denials, they also had not anticipated the thousands of insurgents that have devasted that country.
The lesson is clear: Do not go to war unless you intend to devastate and destroy the enemy through overwhelming force through numbers. Islamic Radicals would not waste a second on showing us mercy. Tens of thousands have needlessly died because we pulled our punches.