Newsradio 850 KOA host Mike Rosen criticized Paul Campos for asserting in his Rocky Mountain News column that "[t]he original point of the surge ... was to create enough stability to allow the Iraqi government ... to start unifying the country," calling the claim "self-serving spin." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, Bush said that "[a] successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations" and would include a political component when he announced his "surge" strategy in January.
On his September 11 show, Mike Rosen of Newsradio 850 KOA criticized as "self-serving spin" Paul Campos' assertion in his Rocky Mountain News column of the same day that "[t]he original point of the surge ... was to create enough stability to allow the Iraqi government, such as it is, to start unifying the country." Rosen added, "The original point of the surge, which is a military activity, was to take the fight to Al Qaeda, and other elements of the insurgency in certain areas where we had cleared but never held. ... The military has no power to achieve political stability." Rosen, however, ignored the fact that when announcing his so-called surge strategy in January, President Bush specifically stated that success had to be measured in terms of military progress and political progress by the Iraqi government on the benchmarks established by the United States. In fact, as Media Matters for America documented, Bush declared that "[a] successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations" and would include a political component: "hold[ing] the Iraqi government to the benchmarks [America] has announced."
From the September 11 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Mike Rosen Show:
ROSEN: Paul Campos starts his column off in the Rocky Mountain News today talking about the fact that he's a fan of the Michigan Wolverines, and he says, "No amount of rationalization can hide the dismal fact this season that we've been sentenced to root for a terrible team." Well, why don't you give Michigan a chance to finish the rest of the season? Maybe they can turn it around. You might recall that the Broncos started off like a house afire last year and then had a crappy second half of the season. So a few games does not a season make. Yes, Michigan's 0 and 2. Wonderful. What the hell does that have to with the war in Iraq?
He says, "By contrast, in the world of politics, it's possible to go on a four-and-a-half-year losing streak and still claim that things are actually going well." He's now trying to make an analogy to what's happening in Iraq. He goes on to say, "The original point of the surge" -- this is his assertion -- "was to create enough stability to allow the Iraqi government, such as it is, to start unifying the country." Well, not quite. I think that's a, a self-serving spin. The original point of the surge, which is a military activity, was to take the fight to Al Qaeda and other elements of the insurgency in certain areas where we had cleared but never held. We were going to change our tactics using a more traditional approach to counterinsurgency warfare. The military has no power to achieve political stability. The military can do what it does well. And by objective evaluations, the military is doing relatively well in accomplishing its mission in the short term up till now. Al Qaeda is on the run right now. They're still around, but their ability to conduct operations as effectively as they had been conducting operations in the past has been severely damaged. We give the military credit for that, and that was part of General [David] Petraeus' point. The establishment of a more stable political environment is, of course, part of the long-term plan, and that's something that the political elements in Iraq -- with U.S. guidance and pressure -- will have to deal with. So Campos' initial assertion is incorrect, as far as I'm concerned. He's, he's spinning it in order to build to his ultimate point.
In fact, Bush specifically cited the need for political progress back in January, and the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007 passed in May provides the benchmarks with which progress is to be measured. Furthermore, when appearing on the August 5 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told host Tim Russert that "a successful outcome in Iraq requires political reconciliation. There's no question about that," and that "[a]t some point there has to be reconciliation at the national level."
Media Matters further noted that on the February 25 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice argued, "The president's been clear with [the Iraqi leaders] that these political reconciliation measures are at the core of success for Iraq." Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, while testifying before a July 31 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on his nomination to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated, "I still maintain that if we aren't making progress in [the Iraqi political] realm the prospects for movement in a positive direction are not very good."