Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 19:45 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 19:45 | SYDNEY

Scepticism and the surge


Hugh White

12 February 2009 14:17

I will always defer to my old friend and colleague Jim Molan on operational and tactical questions, but I think the key strategic question about the surge still remains to be answered. How precisely did the increase in US forces and the change in operational concepts contribute to the political changes we have seen? 

It is easy to assume that because the political changes followed the surge they were caused by it. They may well have been, but until we can see what the mechanism was, and really understand the causation, we should not jump to that conclusion. Such caution is important not just to people like me who don’t want to be proved wrong in our scepticism about the surge. 

It is important because many sensible people – including I gather Jim himself – are now keen to extrapolate from Iraq to Afghanistan, and say that if the surge worked in one it will work in the other. Well, we’d need to be very clear about whether, and if so how and why, the surge worked in Iraq before taking that step. And yes Jim, I am a sceptic about Afghanistan.