Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Surge Reporting

While the entire world appears totally preoccupied with the Petraeus testimony, I’m pretty bored with it. Several things are clear. First, he’s the water carrier for the “pro-surge” community. He has to be. He’s in charge. That means that he’ll defend the surge no matter what.

Two, minor gains or great ones, we’re still f*cked in the long run. Nothing he says has any real bearing on the outcome of the war because the surge is temporary. Not that making it permanent would make any difference either. Any amateur historian versed in the history of occupations knows two things: insurgents don’t go away because of a military presence and they can afford to wait. This means that just like in Algiers, the Occupied Territories, and other diverse experiences, a military solution has no hope of long-term success, even if there are (very minor) short term gains.

Three, none of his testimony is related to the political considerations or attitudinal issues. Politically, Iraq is frozen in time and there appears no breaking the deadlock on all pivotal legislation. But perhaps more troubling for US interests is that according to a BBC/ABN poll, 60% of Iraqis thinks it’s totally legit to attack US troops. Look – they hate us. They hate our presence. They want us out. It’s that simple. We have no hope of “winning the war” unless we change that and to date, we have had no success at “winning the hearts and minds” of the Iraqi people. Welcome us with open arms indeed.

Four, Bush is clearly pushing Iraq off to the next president. The sum of Petraeus’s testimony was, we’re doing well, making improvements, might be able to bring 5,000 home in the near future, but the rest gotta stay. For how long? Forever or until the American public finally forces the Democrats to act.

Last, this is Vietnam all over again. Not only have we had shifting goalposts but we’ve also had the exact same type of threat construction. Back then, they said Red Spread. If we let them commie bastards win in Vietnam, they’ll infect all of Southeast Asia and then the US will be encircled by Commie Pinko Bastards®. Didn’t happen.

Now, in Iraq, they’ve shifted the message several times to land on the currently popular scribe of “Middle Eastern Conflagration” aka a region-wide war. Now, not only is there a clear lack of evidence to support such a claim, the action most likely to unite Iraq and unify the country is an Iranian invasion. It’s hard to imagine how a wider war would serve the Realist interests in Iran, especially when it would legitimize US presence and international condemnation. But then again, the whole Middle Eastern Conflagration is just as much bullshit as Red Spread was.

At any rate, these debates are little more than self-serving political theater and necessary ripely stupid, most notably, because they ignore the central concept of inevitability. As in, some day, hopefully sooner than later, we’re leaving Iraq and all the currently described “risks” of pullout will become real. The only question is how many dead American soldiers is Bush going to be personally responsible for.

3774 and counting.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Political Favorites
Guilty Pleasures
My Global Position