Guest blogged by Arlen Parsa of The Daily Background
On January 10th, George W. Bush stood before the nation in a prime-time address and outlined his plan for a so-called "surge" of American troops into Iraq. The explicitly stated purpose of the "surge" was to lower sectarian violence, especially in Baghdad, so that political progress could occur.
"The violence in Iraq --- particularly in Baghdad," Bush admitted, "overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made." The escalation's goal was to cut the level of violence, Bush said, later promising that "If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home."
On May 2nd, Bush reiterated that the goal of his "surge" was to bring down the overall amount of sectarian violence in Iraq, saying "The definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down."
Most Americans now agree that the surge is not achieving its intended goal of lowering violence. A CBS/NYT poll in May found that 76% believed the "surge" was either making the situation in Iraq worse, or having no effect whatsoever. Despite the fact that all the "surged" troops are now in place in Baghdad, the second in command in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno recently conceded that 60% of Baghdad is still out of control.