I figured it was only a matter of time before the true instigation's of the 'surge success' found its way out of the wonkish COIN blogs and circles of strategists; but I was shocked and dismayed that this story may be true.
Iraq has been a national nightmare, but the tremors are going to be felt for years to come, as little known vestiges of deceit, incompetence and arrogance continue to trickle out. The question remains, will the collective national response be righteous outrage or a desire to 'turn the page' and 'move forward'....because we know which is easier.
What the history books should also record, revealed here for the first time, is that the Sunni insurgents had offered to come to terms with the Americans 30 months earlier, in the summer of 2004, during secret talks with senior U.S. officials and military commanders. The Sunnis were gathered by an Iraqi named Talal al-Gaaod, a Sunni sheikh and wealthy businessman based in the Jordanian capital, Amman. The American officials included Jerry H. Jones, then a special assistant to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and later serving as an expert on transitional government to Rumsfeld’s successor, Robert Gates; the late ambassador Evan Galbraith, Rumsfeld’s special envoy to Europe; Colonel Mike Walker, the head of civil affairs for the Marine Corps in Iraq; and James Clad, then a counselor to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (which was seeking to foster economic development in Iraq) and later the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for South and Southeast Asia. These men were desperate to pursue the Sunni contacts, and took serious risks with their own careers in order to do so. They were supported by officers close to the top of the U.S. military, including Lieutenant General James T. Conway, then the Marine Corps commander in Iraq and today the commandant of the Corps. For a variety of reasons, some of them petty, some of them ideological, and some of them still obscure, these men were blocked by superiors in the State Department, the Pentagon, and the White House.
The Sunni Awakening, when it did finally come, provided welcome relief, says Jerry Jones. But the cost of delay is quantifiable. “From July ’04 to mid-’07,” he points out, “you can directly attribute almost all those K.I.A. [killed in action] in the Sunni regions of Iraq to this fatal error, and if we hadn’t been fighting the Sunni, we’d have had a lot more resources for dealing with Shia militia leaders like Moqtada al-Sadr in places such as Baghdad. It didn’t have to happen. Those lives did not have to be lost.” To put the matter concretely: if the compromises accepted later by the Bush administration had been accepted when a rapprochement was first broached by the Sunnis, in 2004, some 2,000 Americans and thousands more Iraqis might not have died.