Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Just another day in the life and death of Iraq LXXIII

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Apologists for the Iraq War and Occupation have been touting the alleged success of the Surge. Violence is down, they say, and that proves the Surge is working and, more generally, that things are looking brighter overall, that more of the same is the best policy. While it is true that there has been some success, isolated and likely temporary success, in such places as Anbar, the numbers show clearly that the Surge has not worked. Some positive numbers can be found, but the violence continues, as does the instability, and, meanwhile, the political situation remains tenuous at best. Progress and reconciliation remain largely impossible goals at this point, as the Iraqis themselves admit, and no amount of surge is likely to turn the situation around.

As for the violence, consider what happened yesterday:

Police training in the provincial capital of Baquba turned into a blood bath on Monday when a suicide bomber on a bicycle set off his explosive vest in the midst of policemen, killing 29, the local police said.

A suicide bomber killed seven people just north of Baghdad, and the United States military said a brigadier general had been wounded by a roadside bomb in northern Baghdad, according to The Associated Press. Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Dorko, the highest-ranking American officer to be hurt since the invasion in March 2003, was evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. His wounds were not life-threatening, The A.P. said.

Taken together, the attacks highlighted the continuing instability in the vicinity of Iraq’s capital and were a reminder of how easily security in the city could disintegrate.

The blast in Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province, also wounded 19 people, including 7 policemen who were in critical condition and a woman and her baby, provincial authorities said. Most of the police officers killed and wounded were members of the recently formed emergency police brigade in Diyala.

So what good does it do for U.S. troops to wage limited mini-wars here and there around Iraq if the goal of stability is not being achieved? Was that not the purpose of the Surge? The surge in and around Baghdad has proven to be of limited success, that is, qualified success, if success at all, and the government in Baghdad remains impotent and essentially sectarian, and success in Anbar has depended upon a strategic alliance of U.S. forces and local Sunni elements, mostly anti-American, who have come to oppose al Qaeda, an alliance that may not prove to be of limited long-term value, indeed, one that may break down once the local Sunnis no longer require U.S. support.

This is not what you will hear from the apologists, the warmongers who want this war to go on and on and on -- and to expand into Iran and perhaps Syria. But the truth is that the Surge has not worked and that success -- the establishment of stability for political progress -- will not be achieved. While the warmongers wish to continue with failure, as they have done all along, it is long past time for the U.S. to withdraw and for the occupation to end. There has been enough time, effort, and surge -- enough for those who started this war to get it right, which they haven't done, time and time again, and nothing is about to change, not as long as "more of the same" is the preferred stategy, not as long as the failed Surge is allowed to continue.

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