Friday, June 15, 2007

Troop Escalation In Iraq Is Complete

As of today, all 28,500 troops that were allocated to Bush’s “Surge” are in country. “The Surge” is complete. War critics who pointed out the steadily increasing number of violent incidents since Bush’s war escalation began in February have been constantly shouted down, with war proponents pointing out that it isn’t fair to judge the effectiveness of the escalation until it is complete. From the Washington Post:

“Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and other U.S. officials have argued that it was not fair to judge the surge strategy until all 28,500 troops arrived and had time to exert their influence on the ground. The announcement of that milestone came Friday.”

But you can already hear the complaints and the rationalizations over why the escalation isn’t fully effective. And guess what? It’s the Iraqis’ fault:

“U.S. military officials have complained that the surge got off to a slow start because Iraqi police and army units performed poorly and Iraqi officials did not provide all the units they had promised. Many of the units also are considered infiltrated by Shiite militias.”

“In addition, the Iraqi government and parliament have not delivered on what U.S. officials believe are the most important elements of the new strategy -- the political reconciliation measures. There has been little or no apparent progress on key issues such as dividing the country's oil revenues, reforming the constitution, readmitting more members of Saddam Hussein's banned Baath political party to public jobs and scheduling provincial elections.”

Here’s my question: how many of our soldiers will die between now and September, when everyone is saying we should know whether “The Surge” and the military strategies associated with it is effectively ending the violence in Iraq? How many more of our soldiers’ legs will be blown off in IED attacks? How many more Iraqi men, women and children will die?

Because in my Half Empty world, I know that this “Surge” will never work. Everyone who meets a bullet or a bomb fragment between now and September will do so based on false hopes and faulty logic. Iraqis don’t view our troops as saviors; they see them as occupation troops. As long as a single US soldier is in Iraq, insurgents of whatever faction will have a reason to fight and kill.

Walt Kelly’s famous Pogo quote, originally applied to environmental issues, applies to our involvement in this war too well: “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”


Anonymous said...

I randomly came across this post and hope that you'll take this comment to heart. Your logic is based on faulty assumptions, namely:

As long as a single US soldier is in Iraq, insurgents of whatever faction will have a reason to fight and kill.

A significant portion of the violence occurring in Iraq today is based around the occupation forces. Within this violence, a portion comes from homegrown insurgents, another portion from foreign radicals, a third foreign agents trying to destabilize Iraq to spur US withdrawal.

In addition, much and perhaps most of the killing going on in Iraq today is sectarian violence, crime and rival gangs vying for supremacy in a power vacuum.

Thus, when US troops leave, a large portion of the first grouping of violence evaporates, whereas the other categories of violence only get worse.

I've been to Iraq. I've spoken to dozens of Iraqis, Sunni, Shiite, Christian, pro-American, anti-American and former insurgent. Not to mention tons of US personnel. All agree on one thing: precipitous US withdrawal would presage a wave of slaughter and revenge killing much worse than what's taking place today, as the thin cohesion of Iraqi society is held in place by American quick reaction forces which standby to quell any massive, coordinated violence.

You can argue against the war, etc., but the conclusion of the argument in this post is based on faulty, if well-intentioned, assumptions.

The presence of US troops is inciting some of the violence, but it's widely agreed that the same presence keeps a lid on much greater violence.


Bill from INDC

Hal said...

So what you propose is that we keep on going around and around on this mobius strip? That we are the reason for some of the violence you don't have a problem with. What you do have a problem with is your crystal ball. No one actually knows what will happen if the troops pull out. No one. Bush's people have cast these dire predictions that have turned into something that "all agree on". The only thing that I can agree to is that Bush and his cronies have been wrong in each and every one of their predictions thus far. Why, I ask, have they hit a home run on this prediction?

Because everyone says so?