Weekly Standard: Understanding General Petraeus's Strategy
by Frederick W. Kagan in Testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs makes a lot of important points about our new tactics in Iraq. For one thing, the troops are just now in place, and aren't fully supported yet. And, thus, much of the work being done now is preparatory, with Iraqi and American forces being prepositioned for later clear and hold actions. Some of the prepositioning is aimed at developing better intelligence. Also, many of the forces are being moved into blocking positions, so that the terrorists can't as easily just flee from one location and reemerge from another.
Of particular note, to those who say that we have failed already:
To say that the current plan has failed is simply incorrect. It might fail, of course, as any military/political plan might fail. Indications on the military side strongly suggest that success--in the form of dramatically reduced violence by the end of this year--is quite likely. Indications on the political side are more mixed, but are also less meaningful at this early stage before security has been established.