Sunday, August 26, 2007

Is the surge working?

It appears to me that the belief that the surge is working started with the July 30 New York Times op-ed by Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, "The War We Might Just Win," O’Hanlon and Pollack sunnily reported: “Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms….”

On August 1st, I posted, Deadliest July yet for U.S. troops...How does that square with "A War We Just Might Win"? I linked to Glenn Greenwald’s post, which exposed O’Hanlon’s and Pollack’s hypocrisy, and well, outright lying, about their previous positions on the war, which surely should have raised a question about their credibility in reporting that the surge is working.

Thanks to Juan Cole of Informed Comment, I know that the surge isn’t working. In my August 1st post, I linked to Cole’s post, Deadliest July Yet for US Troops; 23% Rise in Iraqi Deaths in July.

Here we are, almost a month later. And what appears to be the consensus regarding the success of the surge? That the military surge is working. On Friday, The New York Times published Report Offers Grim View of Iraqi Leaders, stating, “A stark assessment released Thursday by the nation’s intelligence agencies depicts a paralyzed Iraqi government unable to take advantage of the security gains achieved by the thousands of extra American troops dispatched to the country this year.”

In Cole's post this morning, Surge in Deaths...:

Deaths per day from political violence in 2007 – 62
Deaths per day from political violence in 2006 - 33

Cole’s concluding paragraph: “The guerrillas have dealt with the surge by a doubling of violence in Iraq as a whole, and the US has only succeeded in wrestling the problem in Baghdad back down to where it was in summer of 2006.”

Cole’s conclusion is supported by a US soldier in Iraq, blogging at Army of Dude, who posted on August 18 regarding the surge, "…The increase of troops in Baghdad pushed the insurgents to rural areas (like Diyala), hence our move here in March. The surge was nothing more than a thorn in the side of nomadic fighters having to move thirty five miles while the generals watched Baghdad with stubborn eyes.”

(photo of US soldiers in Iraq: Wikimedia.org)

3 comments:

Ann said...

What a heart-breaking blog--Army of Dude. I agree with Alex. If we were to put full color pictures of every one of the dead in every paper with a full biography (and I am talking about photos of them both alive and in the hour of their death) maybe we would finally put a face to the consequences of an evil war and call halt.

It also includes putting a face to the suffering people of Iraq--mothers gathering the body parts of their children for burial, the students of the school Alex mentions. Could the people of the United States stomach the carnage? I couldn't.

The only way to apathetically accept wholesale death and dying is to impersonalize it--were we to imbue the dead with their unique human qualities and to know them as individuals, we could not do this.

The surge is working? Ask the dead, the dying, the injured, the maimed and their families. How much more can be endured?

Anonymous said...

In a front page story, the New York Times tells us how the US Ambassador to Iraq is wining and dining congressional delegations in an effort to win individual Congresspeople over to the administration view. It's pretty sickening:

"The Pentagon is pleased and a senior White House official called the trips “a net plus.” And at least one Democrat, Representative Brian Baird of Washington, an early opponent of the war, has changed his mind.

Mr. Baird was especially struck by his trip to Yusufiya, a farm town about 15 miles south of Baghdad in an area long dominated by Sunni insurgents. He met the mayor, visited a market and chatted with two sheiks, a Sunni and a Shiite, who “embraced us in front of everybody out on the street,” he said."

And, who do you suppose might have encouraged (read 'paid') the two charming sheiks to hug the American Congresspeople?

If you want to get sicker, read the Rolling Stone article on the war in Iraq as a racket. How much more of this the American public can stomach remains to be seen. Apparently we stomach a lot -- just don't make us look at it as Ann points out.

Janie

Gail Jonas said...

Janie and Ann,
Thanks for your comments, both so worth reading.

I see that at least one Congressional representative, Jan Schakowsky, was not all that impressed with what she saw and heard in Iraq. Also, I noted that she didn't get to see the "real Iraq," the one reported on by Alex in his Army of Dude.