Monday, September 10, 2007

The Truth Behind The "Surge" Strategy

AP Photo

Now that General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have delivered their report to Congress on the "troop surge" in Iraq, an assessment of the overall situation seems to be in order. What are the implications of the surge strategy? What have we achieved, and where do we stand in comparison to how we stood before the surge was implemented? Let's ask, shall we?

General Petraeus, how's that surge going
"As a bottom line up front, the military objectives of the surge are in large measure being met."

Outstanding! That means we bought the Iraqi government some time to achieve its political objectives, which was the stated purpose of the surge. What were those objectives again, President Bush?

"Those objectives are a nation that can sustain itself, govern itself and defend itself.”

Those are important things for any nation to achieve. But how are we to measure their progress toward those objectives?

"We continue to encourage and press them to achieve the established benchmarks, since we believe that those efforts will contribute to Iraq’s stability, its ability to provide for its own security, and to the international effort to counter violent extremism."

So, how much progress have the Iraqis made toward achieving those benchmarks, Comptroller General David Walker of the GAO?

"The Iraqi government met 3, partially met 4, and did not meet 11 of its 18 benchmarks. Overall, key legislation has not been passed, violence remains high, and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion in reconstruction funds."

Oh my! Only 3 of the 18 benchmarks achieved? That's terrible! Ambassador Crocker, this sounds like it might be your area of expertise. Do you have any comments?

"I do believe that Iraq's leaders have the will to tackle the country's pressing problems, although it will take longer than we originally anticipated because of the environment and the gravity of the issues before them."

You want more time? Every time we talk to you it's more time! Our troops are dying while this joke of an Iraqi government fails, time and time again, to take charge of their own country! What's that, General Petraeus? You have something to add?

"I believe we will be able to reduce forces to a pre-surge level by next summer without jeopardizing the security gains we've fought so hard to achieve."

And there it is, folks. We are still failing to accomplish our strategic objectives, but by next summer, Petraeus believes we can return troop levels to what they were before the surge started. By the way, this grandly-announced drawdown of troops is not due to the success of the surge. It is a military necessity. Admiral Michael G. Mullen, the president's nominee for head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talked about it in his July 31 confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He stressed the need to "plan for an eventual drawdown" due to the strain the war was putting on our military. Are you smelling the bullshit yet? Could it be that the White House had planned to pull these troops out by next summer all along?

By sheer coincidence, next summer just happens to be the run-up to the 2008 elections! So basically, we will be in almost the same situation we were in when the Republicans got their "thumping" in 2006. The difference? This time the Republicans will be able to say they've brought some troops home -- even though there will still be the same number of troops in Iraq as there were in 2006. It's just "stay the course" by a different name! It's nothing but a cynical political ploy aimed at the Republican base, to give the congressional Republicans some cover so they won't jump ship and start voting with Democrats to end the war. Politics, like Chess, is a game of long-term strategies and cut-throat tactics. In Chess, pieces are sometimes sacrificed to achieve the more important objectives of the overall strategy. The heartless politics of war are no different, except the pieces being sacrificed are real, living, breathing human beings. The next president will most likely be a Democrat, and the Republicans know this. The real strategy behind the "surge" is, and always was, to drag the war out until the end of Bush's term so it can be dumped into the lap of his successor. When (or if) the Democrats finally end this fiasco, the Republican strategy will then be to blame them for losing the war, even though it was never winnable in the first place. This deception has Karl Rove's fingerprints all over it. When I think about all the lives they are cruelly sacrificing for this crude, transparent ruse, it truly sickens me. The Republicans should be made to pay for this crass and despicable gambit.

Your move, Democrats.


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