No really, the surge is working

Iraq Update

More that 600,000 Iraqis have abandoned their homes since the surge began.

The Iraqi Red Crescent Organisation said the total number of internally displaced has jumped from 499,000 to 1.1 million since extra US forces arrived with the aim of making the country more secure. The UN-run International Organisation for Migration says the numbers fleeing fighting in Baghdad grew by a factor of 20 in the same period.

Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland suggests that the Vietnam comparison is unecessary, because Iraq will go down in history as a failure in its own right

“For Americans, the most important comparison will be this one: As Vietnam did, Iraq has become a failure even on its own terms — whatever those terms are at any given moment,” Hoagland writes in the most-read story on the Post’s Web site Friday morning.

“Bush’s comparison of the two conflicts rivals Richard Nixon’s ‘I am not a crook’ utterance during Watergate and Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,’ in producing unintended consequences of a most damaging kind for a sitting president,” he writes.

Washington has decided that democracy is not such a big deal after all.

The U.S. effort to install a democracy in Iraq within three to five years was a flawed strategy with little chance of succeeding, U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra said Friday.

In spite of Bill Kristol insisting that GOP Sen. John Warner will stay on message, there are suggestions he wall back a Democrat bill for troop withdrawals.

GOP Sen. John Warner, who wants U.S. troops to start coming home from Iraq by Christmas, said Sunday he may support Democratic legislation ordering withdrawals if President Bush refuses to set a return timetable soon.

The Pentagon is having to pull troops from Japan to make up numbers in Iraq. Those recruitment drives don’t seem to be working.

As the British have pulled out from Basra, Sadr’s men have apparently taken control.

Shiite militiamen from the Mahdi Army took over the police joint command center in Basra on Sunday after British soldiers withdrew from the facility and handed control to the Iraqi police, witnesses said.

Who would have thought that a speech given to the National Guard calling for US withdrawal from Iraq would produce a standing ovation?

A call by Puerto Rico’s governor for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq earned a standing ovation from a conference of more than 4,000 National Guardsmen.

Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila said Saturday that the U.S. administration has “no new strategy and no signs of success” and that prolonging the war would needlessly put guardsmen in harm’s way.

“The war in Iraq has fractured the political will of the United States and the world,” he said at the opening of the 129th National Guard Association general conference. “Clearly, a new war strategy is required and urgently.”

Acevedo said sending more troops to Iraq would be a costly blunder.

The numbers of violent deaths in Iraq is going up, not down.

This year’s U.S. troop buildup has succeeded in bringing violence in Baghdad down from peak levels, but the death toll from sectarian attacks around the country is running nearly double the pace from a year ago.

Remember that the death rate had, according to the Lancet survey, doubled every year since the occupation began.

The latest NIE makes a mockery of any suggestion the surge is working.

The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate has effectively discredited the dominant American hypothesis of the past seven months: that safer streets, secured by additional troops, would create enough political calm for Iraq’s leaders to reconcile.

They have failed to do so in part, suggests the report, which was released Thursday, because the security gains remain too modest to reverse Iraq’s dynamic of violence and fear. Baghdad after all, remains a place where women at the market avoid buying river fish for fear that they’ve been eating bodies.

British troops say the war in Iraq cannot be won.

A belief that Iraq is unwinnable, fears that Afghanistan could go the same way and an overwhelming feeling that the government has not looked after the Armed Forces properly in return for the sacrifices they make.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

Site by Common