Tuesday, March 25, 2008

By any other name

When five US combat brigades depart Iraq in July—because their over-long, 15-month rotations are up, and not because of any actual strategic decision—it will represent the end and sum total of what George W. Bush not-too-long-ago called our “return on success.” As reported in today’s New York Times (via Think Progress), it “now appears likely that any decision on major reductions in American troops from Iraq will be left to the next president.”

In other words, what the Bush Administration successfully branded as a “surge” proves to be exactly what I insisted it was over a year ago, an escalation.

Even though most of this escalation in forces will remain in Iraq through the end of Bush’s term, I will bet that most in the establishment media will continue to call it a “surge”—just as the same scribe corps continues to parrot and push the never true and constantly disproved myth that “the surge is working.”

Just to reiterate, because it seems that we all have to, the latest escalation has not worked. It certainly didn’t promote any kind of grand political reconciliation—its purported strategic goal—and even the claim that it decreased overall violence is extremely suspect.

After fourteen months of this tactic, the occasion of reaching 4,000 dead troops serves to underscore the escalation’s abject failure. Not only does that number promise to go ever higher for the rest of Bush’s reign, the last two weeks got us to this tragic milestone much faster than expected. The 25 killed in the last fortnight represents the highest death rate for a two-week period since September 2007 (which came at the end of the bloodiest summer of the war).

Iraqi deaths are also creeping back up, Sunni and Shiite militias appear to be growing restless, and the US still has no set plan for transitioning out of this occupation.

Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have both proposed more rapid US troop redeployments, but John W. McCain has a different idea. . . or, rather, he has the most un-different idea. To quote the Times: “The Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, has advocated following a policy close to that of President Bush’s.”

Four more years of an over-stretched military, mission drift, and continued escalation—overseen by a guy that doesn’t even seem to understand the conflict? Sounds like the Republicans are offering McMore of McSame.

. . . .

For a different—as in better—way to deescalate the occupation, please check out A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq (this is my review, or click below to read about the full plan and who is supporting it).

A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq - Click here to add your support

(cross-posted on guy2k and The Seminal)

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