Michael O'Hanlon from the Brookings Institution has an op-ed in today's Washington Post in which he argues that even though he has doubts about the possibility that the "surge" will help, Congress should still not try to block it. I do not agree with all of his points, but it is a coherent argument.
However mediocre its prospects, each main element of the president's plan has some logic behind it. On the military surge itself, critics of the administration's Iraq policy have consistently argued that the United States never deployed enough soldiers and Marines to Iraq. Now Bush has essentially conceded his critics' points. To be sure, adding 21,500 American troops (and having them conduct classic counterinsurgency operations) is not a huge change and may be too late.
But it would still be counterintuitive for the president's critics to prevent him from carrying out the very policy they have collectively recommended.
Similarly, the president wants to move in the right direction on economic reconstruction. For far too long his plans were focused almost exclusively on repairing and rebuilding large infrastructure. The president conceded in a speech in December 2005 that he had placed too much faith in this "Halliburton strategy," yet it has taken more than a year for him to make amends and focus a large part of his economic strategy on the mundane task of creating jobs.
O'Hanlon's recommendation that Congress only fund the surge through September causes one problem, I think. If adopted, it gives the insurgents a date certain that they would have to hold on until. That could be counter-productive and actually put more American lives at risk. But it is worthwhile to read the whole thing.