The “Surge”: A total and unmitigated defeat

Nothing about the so-called “surge” in Iraq was successful. Sure, in the areas where we poured in thousands of new troops there was a temporary drop in violence. D’uh. But that was not what the “surge” was intended to do. Let’s take a look at what the actual objective was.

The chief objective of the surge was to reduce violence enough that political leaders in Iraq could learn to work together, build a viable government and take decisions to improve Iraqi society, including sharing oil resources. Congress set benchmarks that Mr. Bush accepted. But after independent investigators last week said that Baghdad had failed to meet most of those markers, Mr. Crocker dismissed them. The biggest achievement he had to trumpet was a communique in which Iraqi leaders promised to talk more.

We failed to meet nearly all of our benchmarks, which somehow slipped down the memory hole, along with those weapons of mass destruction, and the Mission Accomplished banner. The fraud we are witnessing is staggering. We vent and go apoplectic over China fudging its statistics to show that black is white. Now look at the good general, trying to convince us we are cutting troops back. Well, technically we are, but it’s smoke and mirrors.

The headline out of General Petraeus’s testimony was a prediction that the United States should be able to reduce its forces from 160,000 to 130,000 by next summer. That sounds like a big number, but it would only bring American troops to the level that were in Iraq when Mr. Bush announced his ‘surge’ last January. And it’s the rough equivalent of dropping an object and taking credit for gravity. The military does not have the troops to sustain these high levels without further weakening the overstretched Army and denying soldiers their 15 months of home leave before going back to war.

The whole thing was an exercise in self-hypnosis. The usual Bush formula – create talking points, develop charts to prove them and then lie your ass off. Remember when they were upset that the decimation of the population of wild salmon would lead to greater anti-pollution controls? They cunningly insisted that the number of farm-raised salmon be added into the wild salmon population, and there you go – pure and total bullshit, a false conclusion, the hoodwinking of America, the bastardization of science, and yet somehow the slimeballs get away with it – because we let them get away with it.

When I see people swallowing the Petraeus claptrap, I wonder if we haven’t surrendered our critical faculties and thrown clarity and reason out the window. One more BS promise, one more call for “six more months” to bail out the Titanic with a thimble. Do we not remember all the turning points, all the previous promises that we had “broken the back of the insurgency” and victory was “around the corner”? How can we not remember, and how can we not be outraged?

It was just another of the broken promises and false claims of success that we’ve heard from Mr. Bush for years, from shock and awe, to bouquets of roses, to mission accomplished and, most recently, to a major escalation that was supposed to buy Iraqi leaders time to unify their nation. We hope Congress is not fooled by the silver stars, charts and rhetoric of yesterday’s hearing. Even if the so-called surge had created breathing room, Iraq’s sectarian leaders show neither the ability nor the intent to take advantage of it.

I am shocked to see intelligent people believing that the “surge” was in any way a success and that Iraq can now take advantage of its benefits and straighten out the tragic mess of the past four years. Self-hypnosis? I don’t know what else it can be, the lies are so glaring it’s impossible not to see them. Let’s see what one ultra-liberal netroots moonbat has to say about it

Those who today stridently insist that the surge has succeeded also say they are especially supportive of the president, Petraeus and the military generally. But at the beginning of the surge, both Petraeus and the president defined success in a way that took the achievement of success out of America’s hands.

The purpose of the surge, they said, is to buy time — “breathing space,” the president says — for Iraqi political reconciliation. Because progress toward that has been negligible, there is no satisfactory answer to this question: What is the U.S. military mission in Iraq?

… What “forced” America to go to war in 2003 — the “gathering danger” of weapons of mass destruction — was fictitious. That is one reason why this war will not be fought, at least not by Americans, to the bitter end. The end of the war will, however, be bitter for Americans, partly because the president’s decision to visit Iraq without visiting its capital confirmed the flimsiness of the fallback rationale for the war — the creation of a unified, pluralist Iraq.

After more than four years of war, two questions persist: Is there an Iraq? Are there Iraqis?

Iraq is an artificial nation created by colonial powers and held together in the past by brute force. The “Iraqis” are a group of sects determined to annihilate one another. The only reason some Sunni leaders decided recently to team up with America instead of butchering us was that they realized Al Qaeda was even worse – but that is a tenuous relationship at best, and we all know they will go back to butchering us once the Shiites move ahead consolidating power and teaming up with Iran.

Oh, and that leftist quoted above is none other than George Will.

We have been defeated in Iraq and there’s no two ways about it. All we’re waiting for is Bush’s departure so he can then blame it on someone else, like stab-in-the-back liberals. We aren’t buying time for the Iraqi leaders, we are buying time for Bush. We are buying this time with our soldiers’ blood and our own tax dollars, all for naught, all for Bush’s childish vanity and limitless hubris.

As one blogger puts it:

This has been said a million times in a million different ways, but the whole point of this exercise is to ensure that Bush’s war continues until it’s time for him to cut brush permanently. The surge can’t have worked because then it could start ending, and the surge can’t be not working because then it would a tragic waste of lives and money, so the surge is working just a little bit.. but might work a little bit more soon!

Six more months, that’s all we need, just six more months….

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 3 Comments

It would appear that outside the Bush League, only McCain disagrees with this analysis. I’ve two questions though. Firstly, I always parrot the line in class about how “Iraq is an artificial nation created by colonial powers and held together in the past by brute force.” But what was it before? After all, it was only a constituent part of the Ottoman Empire spanning from Morocco to the Persian Gulf and Somalia from 1632 until World War I, and I don’t recall any great battles or uprisings or revolutions in this region during those 300 years. It just strikes me as an oversimplification of history to argue a current course of action.
More to the point, what should be done then? Britain is finally cutting out which I suppose we all agree is the best strategy. However, although I think McCain is a lunatic, I’m not too sure that he’s wrong about “chaos, wider war, and genocide” being a result of a US pull-out, in which case the Coalition will be damned for having created a situation and then cowardly running away when it got too hot, as Britain did most notably after Indian partition and independence.
Are you advocating therefore pull-out because you care about the (volunteer) soldiers?
Is it because you think the US loses support worldwide as it stays?
Is it because Iraq will stabilise if it hasn’t the American target as a rallying point for resistance (as the Brits argued was occurring in Basra)?
Is it because we all distrust American motives for being in the region (with all those permanent bases)?
What should the next President do that Bush refuses (apart from throwing more troops in).
These questions are pretty naive-sounding (I just woke up) but I keep reading polls suggesting that support for the war has grown, plummeted, etc. But unless there’s that additional clause thrown into the question advocating a particular alternative, such responses are pretty subjective.

September 12, 2007 @ 7:40 am | Comment

In my estimate, there wasn’t ever any plan to win militarily. The surge, like our entry into Iraq, under false pretenses, was just another means to divert the public’s attention from the real plan-to make a few people very wealthy.

September 12, 2007 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

Evil is evil. States make wars and wars make states. I will take representative democracy over facism any day. The new Iraq has more promise than the old to be a stable state — not now on the face of it, but think 10 to 20 years from now. It will need a strong continued security effort as a precursor to any money though. I think the future for Iraq is better than it was 5 years ago. Too many of the best Iraqis were butchered and tortured for too long. And I don’t agree it was all about oil. I think it was about threats to the people in Iraq and all of us outside Iraq, from the militarism, the barbarism, and the sponsoring of madness. Like anything that falls apart (Soviet-bloc) we worry about solutions for the future/where we’ll be (which includes oil yes, but security b4 oil itself). The US has lost lives, as has the UK and all the other states that committed servicemen in the Gulf and elsewhere as part of the campaign and its fallout. I can’t say they were lives “well spent”, but I can say they were not given in vain. The world is better place for removing Saddam. Tyrannts need to be opposed…and preferably deposed…to make the world a better place. I live in real thought-out fear that one day I or my loved ones will be trapped within the grasp of such an evil regime. Bless those strong enough to fight for our freedom — and give pause for thought before condeming the generals who have to do our dirty work for us. As for “surge”, yes, this is a way to present/explain continuous war resourcing by the US regime for its mission in Iraq – not that the US allies will back them much more (the UK is pulling out?, right?). . But don’t think so stupidly that this is about the rich making themselves richer. It is about the good governments of the world (and there aren’t that many, lets face it), do something to help us civvies live in better world.

September 20, 2007 @ 2:12 am | Comment

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