There has been a lot of press about how well the surge is working in Baghdad and how many people are returning from Syria and Jordan. But how well is the reconstruction of the Iraqi infrastructure going? Until now, a major problem has been security. We couldn’t build things like sewage plants, electrical generation stations, etc., because people kept getting killed working on them. Now what’s it like? How many hours do Baghdad residents have electricity? Do they have water?
The other question is what has happened to the neighborhoods? Has violence dropped because the neighborhoods have been ethnically cleansed, because neighborhoods that were once mixed Sunni and Shiite are now only one or the other?
And, has the violence dropped because we defeated al Qaeda and other opponents, or have they just faded into the woodwork until the surge is over? It appears that the surge is about over. Troops are coming home that are not being replaced, because there are no troops to replace them.
It looks like the surge proved that we needed more troops than we had for most of the war. Why did it take us four years to learn that? Just how bad are our military planners and leaders?