A Surge of Confusion (or: John McGaffe Strikes Again)
In an interview on Tuesday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) asserted that the 2007 troop surge in Iraq "began the Anbar awakening," the process by which Sunni tribal leaders allied with U.S. force and turned against al Qaeda in Iraq. McCain also suggested that to disagree with his version of history "does a great disservice to young men and women who are serving and have sacrificed" in Iraq. In fact, it is McCain himself who has done a disservice to history.
The Anbar awakening began in the late summer and early fall of 2006, months before the surge was announced in January 2007. While the Anbar awakening is an important contributor to the drop in violence in Iraq, it is only one of several factors. Meanwhile, the stated goal of the surge -- Iraqi political reconciliation -- remains unmet.