NPR talked to a couple of military men
on the effects of the surge and got varying opinions on the effectiveness.
Former Gen. Barry McCaffrey, and retired Col. Douglas Macgregor.
Though McCaffrey can be seen as a "believer" in the surge, he can also be seen to have said that --
... that a surge of 30,000 additional troops into a country of 30 million could never have enough of an impact alone to turn things around.
NPR also mentions the cease-fire and the CLC's. Of McCaffrey and the CLC's:
McCaffrey just got back from a five-day trip to Iraq where, he says, he "went to a couple of these CLCs, you know, five awkward-looking guys with their own AKs standing at a road junction with two magazines of ammunition — and they're there as early warning to protect their families in that village. I think that that's good."
We seem to be dispensing CLC money at a clip of $10 a day for some 70,000 former insurgents -- a quarter billion a year.
McCaffrey thinks the CLC's are gamble worth taking. MacGregor takes a different side.
It's a controversial strategy, and Macgregor warns that it's creating a parallel military force in Iraq that is made up almost entirely of Sunni Muslims.
"We need to understand that buying off your enemy is a good short-term solution to gain a respite from violence," he says, "but it's not a long-term solution to creating a legitimate political order inside a country that, quite frankly, is recovering from the worst sort of civil war."
That civil war has subsided, for now. It's diminished because of massive, internal migration, a movement of populations that has created de-facto ethnic cantons.
"Segregation works is effectively what the U.S. military is telling you," Macgregor says. "We have facilitated, whether on purpose or inadvertently, the division of the country. We are capitalizing on that now, and we are creating new militias out of Sunni insurgents. We're calling them concerned citizens and guardians. These people are not our friends, they do not like us, they do not want us in the country. Their goal is unchanged."
Macgregor, a decorated combat veteran and a former administration adviser, articulates a view that is privately shared by several former and current officers. It's not that they believe the plan isn't working. It's that they see it as a dangerous one with potentially destructive consequences.