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Friday, September 5, 2008

The surge STILL isn't working

A while back I argued that despite the claims of George W. Bush and John McCain, which are regularly echoed in the mainstream media, there has been evidence for some time that the "surge" of troops in Iraq is no longer working. Now, today's Los Angeles Times reports that General David Petraeus is recommending a delay in cutting troop levels in Iraq until next year, because of his concerns that there would be an upsurge of violence. It should be obvious that a surge is only "working" if it reduces violence in such a way that troops can eventually be withdrawn, not if the troops have to stay there forever.

I have been perplexed that Obama has not hit McCain much harder on the Iraq war in recent weeks and months, given that its unpopularity is not only very high among Americans but that the war is one of the main reasons the Democrats took back Congress AND why the Democrats have a very good chance of winning the presidency. I could be wrong, but I get the impression that Obama actually thinks he is vulnerable about the surge--McCain certainly has continued to bait him on the issue--and that this may be why he is avoiding the issue, or at least not making it front and center. But if Obama's campaign took an aggressive stance on the war, it could easily put McCain on the defensive--especially because McCain, despite his alleged "war hero" credentials (earned by bombing the daylights out of the Vietnamese until his well-deserved capture, although obviously I do not approve of the way he was treated in captivity), has actually shown himself to be very callous to the terrible situation in which Bush and co. have put "our troops." Three, four, five tours of duty, more than 4000 American deaths, marriages destroyed, lives destroyed, bodies destroyed--and yet McCain would subject them to more of the same until "victory" is achieved, whatever that means.

If not for his position on the war in Iraq, Obama would not be where he is today. His early opposition to the war gave him his first boost of credibility when he began running against Hillary Clinton, and it had a lot to do with why he beat her. It's time for Obama, and his campaign staff and advisors, to let loose on McCain with a thunderous assault on his own Iraq stance. That would surely lead to the kind of "victory" so many of us want to see.

Update (September 8): According to an Associated Press story on the New York Times site, Bush will announce tomorrow that he has accepted the recommendation not to reduce Iraq troop levels until January. Obama campaigners, take note.

Addendum: Many of you may be aware that Bob Woodward's new book, "The War Within," argues that the surge was not primarily responsible for the initial drop in violence in Iraq.

Palin prophecies: The New York Times carries a story today entitled "In Palin's Life and Politics, Goal to Follow God's Will." Isn't it odd how God always wills politicians to do such stupid things? And by the way, was it God's will for the Republicans to nominate someone involved in an ethics inquiry that is heating up rather than cooling down?

1 comment:

Richard said...

The situation in Iraq is going in exactly the opposite direction to what the American invaders thought.

Iran won the politics, and Russia and China have won the oil. Good for them - pick up the useful stuff once the invasion has run out of steam.

How do you get 5000 employees at the so-called American Embassy in Baghdad off the roof in one night?