Flimsy Sanity: Views of the "Successful" Surge

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Views of the "Successful" Surge

Beyond the Green Zone by Dahr Jamail is an interesting book talk on CSpan. Mr. Jamail was an unembedded journalist who is angry about how the media covers the war.

He explained that the privatization of logistic services to the armed forces (in all 750 or more bases)was studied by KBR for feasibility and then approved so that the contract went to KBR while Cheney was Secretary of Defense - right before he became CEO of Halliburton, the parent of KBR.

-That part of the reason that the army is suffering less losses is that they are avoiding conflict by going out in the field and just sitting in a safe spot for 12 hours. Can hardly blame them.

-A real reason some people are returning to Baghdad (like reported in the media as a sign of progress) is that Syria has closed their borders and they were the only ones accepting refugees.

I really recommend this talk if you have the time.

Another interesting article is The corpse on the gurney
Rebellious al-Anbar Province was, for instance, essentially turned over to members of the community (many of whom had, even according to the Department of Defense, been fighting Americans until recently). They were then armed and paid by the U.S. not to make too much trouble.

In the Iraqi capital, on the other hand, the surging American military looked the other way as, in the first half of 2007, the Shiite “cleansing” of mixed Baghdad neighborhoods reached new heights, transforming it into a largely Shiite city. This may have been the real “surge” in Iraq and, if you look at new maps of the ethnic make-up of the capital, you can see the startling results — from which a certain quiescence followed. Powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, a longtime opponent of the Bush administration, called a “truce” during the surge months and went about purging and reorganizing his powerful militia, the Mahdi Army. In exchange, the U.S. has given up, at least temporarily, its goal of wresting control of some of those neighborhoods from the Sadrists.

Despite hailing the recent passage of what might be called a modest re-Baathification law in the Iraqi Parliament (that may have little effect on actual government employment), the administration has also reportedly given up in large part on pushing its highly touted “benchmarks” for the Iraqis to accomplish. This was to be a crucial part of Iraqi political “reconciliation” (once described as the key to the success of the whole surge strategy). It has now been dumped for so-called Iraqi solutions. All of this, including the lack of U.S. patrolling in al-Anbar province, the heartland of the Sunni insurgency, plus the addition of almost 30,000 troops in Baghdad and environs, has indeed given Iraq a quieter look — especially in the United States, where Iraqi news has largely disappeared from front pages and slipped deep into prime-time TV news coverage just as the presidential campaign of 2008 heats up.


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