Book Review: "The Surge"
Turning the Tide of Battle
The Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2009, Book Review (Opinion Section)
by Brendan Simms
Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal
By the end of 2006, the Vietnam experience seemed to be repeating itself in Iraq. Coalition commanders were at their wits' end as they battled a tenacious and elusive insurgency. Like the unfortunate South Vietnamese army, the Iraqi security forces, despite years of training, were failing to "stand up" in sufficient numbers. The Baker-Hamilton report recommended that the U.S. "engage" with Iraq's neighbors -- in other words, sell out the fledgling democracy in Baghdad, just as Henry Kissinger had sought to secure an exit from Vietnam through détente with China. A vicious sectarian civil war was rending the country; massacre and torture had become routine. It would not be long, many predicted, before the world would witness a rush to the helicopters, not in Saigon this time but in Baghdad's Green Zone.
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