When I was young I used to love to play Avalon Hill board games. I would replicate the great battles of history, moving little cardboard pieces representing units around a map board for hours on end. Reading this piece by Fred and Kimberly Kagan on the surge strategy sounds like people playing at war on a map board, moving pieces around like grand strategists in some fantasy of their own importance. It's an astounding piece for its obvious lack of understanding of the reality of the war in Iraq; it sounds like they're discussing war plans for a World War II battle in western Europe. They talk of the number of brigades in place and "combat power"and clearing operations, obviously having sat through a few too many military briefings.
That's the problem with having people with no real world experience dictating strategy. The Kagans haven't the foggiest idea of the kind of war being fought in Iraq. This is guerrilla warfare people! Its not conventional warfare! Combat power in guerrilla warfare means nothing. The American military cannot find and identify the enemy. They have no idea how many insugrents there are or how many insurgent cells are active in Iraq. They don't know! Guerrilla fighters blend into the populace when American patrols roll through their neighborhoods. If they don't want to be found they won't be. The Sunni population fully supports the Sunni/Baathist insurgency, if that much isn't obvious enough four years into this thing then you haven't been paying attention.
The surge won't work for the simple reason that both the Sunni and Shia populations view the war as a zero sum game that neither is willing to lose. Political reconciliation will not happen.