Obama on the Surge

OBAMA ON THE SURGE….Over at the Corner, Andy McCarthy berates Barack Obama’s explanation for the reduction in violence in Iraq (“What you had is a combination of political factors inside of Iraq that then came right at the same time as terrific work by our troops”):

Does Obama think the Sunni Awakening and the Shia militia stand-down are somehow separate developments from the surge and the brilliant performance of American forces? If he really thinks that, it’s dumb.

Hmmm. Let’s roll the tape:

  • February 2006: Muqtada al-Sadr orders an end to execution-style killings by Mahdi Army death squads.

  • August 2006: Sadr announces a broad ceasefire, which he has maintained ever since.

  • September 2006: The Sunni Awakening begins. Tribal leaders, first in Anbar and later in other provinces, start fighting back against al-Qaeda insurgents.

  • March 2007: The surge begins.

Say what you will about the surge, which does indeed deserve a share of the credit for reducing violence and increasing security in Baghdad. But it pretty obviously wasn’t related to either the Shia militia stand-down or the Sunni Awakening, since both those things began before Petraeus took over in Iraq and before the surge was even a gleam in George Bush’s eye. American troops played a role in the Sadr ceasefire and (especially) the Awakening, but the surge itself didn’t — and without them, the surge would certainly have failed. Obama has it exactly right.