Iraq: The Magic Number Theory
Silly me, I thought I'd finally get an answer in the new American Enterprise Institute report by Fred Kagan. Unfortunately, there are no new ideas in this report (which is really more of a poorly executed Power Point presentation than an in-depth report). As far as I can tell, Kagan's entire argument is that we need more of the same. His entire argument is that, in Baghdad, we need more troops performing more patrols.
The only thing even marginally "new" about Kagan's approach is his suggestion that we should clear areas and provide a "strong leave-behind presence" to keep those areas from re-igniting. Kagan, at least, admits his plan for more troops will result in an increase in casualties--but only, he assures us, in the "short-term" and we shouldn't perceive that as a "sign of failure." He fails to explain how a surge in patrolling American troops could possibly "hold" territories when the space of a single apartment and the anger of a single man could lead to the deaths of dozens. He fails to explain how sectarian attacks will decrease. He simply seems to believe that doing the same thing with more people will finally solve the country's problems.