Saturday, March 01, 2008

"The Myth of the Surge"

The mainstream media quotes members of Congress and the president describing the surge in Iraq as an unqualified success.

From The Washington Post on February 27th, "Senate Agrees to Debate Bill on Iraq Pullout": “The Senate voted overwhelmingly yesterday to begin debating a bill that would require the administration to start withdrawing forces from Iraq in 120 days and cut funding for battlefield deployments, a surprise move supported by Republicans who want to highlight the security achievements over the past year under President Bush's troop buildup strategy. [emphasis mine]

“Republicans remain almost unanimously opposed to any required withdrawal timeline, but they supported opening the debate because they want to draw attention to the decreased violence and other military progress in Iraq since the United States sent an additional 30,000 U.S. troops there last year. [emphasis mine]

"There's been so much improvement in the situation in Iraq. Since [Democrats] are the ones who want to turn back to the subject, we'd like to spend the time talking about the dramatic improvements in Iraq," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters moments before a preliminary vote on the withdrawal measure.” [emphasis mine]

Dan Froomkin, who blogs for The Washington Post, reported on Bush’s comments at the February 28th press conference here: “President Bush today defended his unpopular war in Iraq, accusing Democratic leaders of being in denial about progress there…. [emphasis mine]

"It seems that no matter what happens in Iraq, opponents of the war have one answer: retreat," Bush said at a press conference this morning. "When things were going badly in Iraq a year ago, they called for withdrawal. Then we changed our strategy, launched the surge, and turned the situation around. . . . [emphasis mine]

"It's interesting that many of the same people who once accused me of refusing to acknowledge setbacks in Iraq now are the ones who are refusing to acknowledge progress in Iraq."

I wonder why mainstream media journalists, with a few exceptions, don’t report on what Nir Rosen and Chris Hedges have to say about the surge. I’ve read Rosen’s In the Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs of Iraq and Hedges’s War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.

Both men have risked their lives to report on what is really happening in war zones. Rosen’s Rolling Stone March 6th article "The Myth of the Surge" is a first-hand account of what he learned from meeting with both Sunnis and Shiites last December. It’s a stunning report about how the U.S. arming of Sunni Iraqis is already starting to backfire. It’s long, but you have the whole weekend to read it.

On February 25th, Hedges posted "The Calm Before the Conflagration" at Truthdig. Excerpts: “The supporters of the war, from the Bush White House to Sen. John McCain, tout the surge as the magic solution. But the surge, which primarily deployed 30,000 troops in and around Baghdad, did little to thwart the sectarian violence….

“The Sunni Arab militias, though they have ended attacks on U.S. forces, detest the Shiite-Kurdish government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and abhor the presence of U.S. troops on Iraqi soil. They take the money and the support with clenched teeth because with it they are able to build a renegade Sunni army, a third force inside Iraq, which they believe will make it possible to overthrow the central government…. There are several hundred thousand well-trained Sunni Arabs who lack only an organizational structure. We have now made the formation of this structure possible. These militias are the foundation for a deadlier insurgent force, one that will dwarf anything the United States faced in the past. The U.S. is arming, funding and equipping its own assassins. “

(photo by Danfung Dennis: A father cares for his daughter after she fainted when US soldiers of Eagle Company, 2-2 Stryker Cavalry Regiment entered the house during an operation in the East Rashid neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq on Dec. 12, 2007: Rolling Stone)

1 comment:

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Yes, the surge is working: a surging consensus among Iraqis. Almost all now agree on one thing: the need to get the US out of their country.

And, I hear, there's another surge: a surge of suicides among returning troops.