'Chicago Tribune' Editorial: Doubts About the 'Surge'

By: E&P Staff It's stablemate on the West Coast, the Los Angeles Times, came out for a pullout in Iraq recently. But where does that leave the far more conservative Chicago Tribune? The paper's editorial page, once a reliable backer of the war, expressed doubts about the success of the "surge" in an editorial this weekend.

Here is an except.

There are few things more perilous than predicting events in Iraq. But absent a huge change in momentum, it seems likely that no matter what the statistics and arguments, September will bring political pressure for another shift in American strategy.

The "surge" has shown that more troops can bring a measure of security to some neighborhoods in Baghdad. But it has also shown the limits of such forces in the absence of effective Iraqi political leadership. And particularly in a war that has morphed into a complex mishmash of conflicts, involving militias, insurgencies, terrorists and criminals.

What can be said without hesitation is that U.S. forces are stretched thin and the Iraqi army has yet to prove it is an effective fighting force. Some Iraqi units perform well. Others don't. The overall readiness of the force remains doubtful; the Pentagon's own analysis estimates as many as half the soldiers in Iraqi units fail to show for duty each day because of scheduled leaves, absences without leave, or attrition. Some soldiers refuse to deploy when units are ordered outside their home territory.


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