Wednesday, December 20, 2006

No Military Hope, So Send More Troops

At, we posted a story today by W. Patrick Lang and Ray McGovern, "No Military Hope, So Send More Troops," which highlights the oxymoronic logic of the so-called "surge" strategy of sending 30,000 to 40,000 more troops to Iraq.

Egged on by “full-speed-ahead” Cheney, Bush is determined that the war not be lost while he is President. But events are fast overtaking White House preferences and moving toward denouement well before two more years are up.

Perhaps it was not quite the way he meant it, but Bush has gotten one thing right; there will indeed be no “graceful exit.” And that goes in spades, if he sends still more troops to the quagmire.

Let’s send more troops to Iraq so we can pull our troops out of Iraq. A generation from now, our grandchildren will have difficulty writing history papers on this oxymoronic debate on how to surge/withdraw our troops into/from the quagmire in Iraq.

Although it may be totally illogical, the new emphasis on one last "surge" to "win" the war actually fits in well with prior administration tactics and strategies in this war, such as the Operation Iron Hammer offensive in late 2003, or the sieges of Fallujah in the spring and fall of 2004. While those prior campaigns succeeded in killing hundreds of people, and perhaps temporarily quelled the insurgency in the targetted areas, the fact is, Iraq as a whole is no more pacified now than it was before those U.S. offensives. In fact, as the Iraq Study Group put it, the situation is "grave and deterioriating."

As some have pointed out for years, increasing the violence and heavy-handed tactics against the Iraqis could actually be backfiring and fueling the insurgency by creating more and more enemies among the Iraqi people. One last "surge" against Baghdad would likely do nothing to reverse this dynamic, and would probably only succeed in creating more death and destruction in an already devastated country. Perhaps this is why the Joint Chiefs of Staff are unanimous in their opposition to the surge idea. As the Washington Post reported yesterday,

At regular interagency meetings and in briefing President Bush last week, the Pentagon has warned that any short-term mission may only set up the United States for bigger problems when it ends. The service chiefs have warned that a short-term mission could give an enormous edge to virtually all the armed factions in Iraq -- including al-Qaeda's foreign fighters, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias -- without giving an enduring boost to the U.S military mission or to the Iraqi army, the officials said.

The Pentagon has cautioned that a modest surge could lead to more attacks by al-Qaeda, provide more targets for Sunni insurgents and fuel the jihadist appeal for more foreign fighters to flock to Iraq to attack U.S. troops, the officials said.

But this expert military advice is apparently no more welcome in the White House than the Iraq Study Group's suggestions for reaching out to Iran and Syria to help stabilize Iraq. Despite the occasional acknowledgement that things may not be going precisely the way they hoped -- such as Bush's admission today that we are neither "winning" or "losing" the war -- it seems as a whole that the neocons still insist upon making their own reality. The insistence on "winning" the war with one last "surge" recalls to mind the process of reality-manufacturing that a Bush aide explained to author Ron Suskind in 2002:

''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

Perhaps he was right that we will be studying what they do, but only in the way that a psychologist might study a sociopath's behavior.


David said...

"Perhaps he was right that we will be studying what they do, but only in the way that a psychologist might study a sociopath's behavior."

I think we may be well served to approach these people with a clinician's eye. They are inarguably, pathological and in fact their behavior is sociopathic.

Lying, cheating and stealing all the while ignoring responsibility- this is the very definition of a sociopathic personality.

Truly, we have madmen infesting this government, and not just in the highest circles for they have liberally distributed their sycophants and hangers-on throughout the depts. of government.

Never before has Walt Kelly's axiom been more accurate; "We have met the enemy and he is us."

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