The ‘Surge’: Three perspectives

by matttbastard

Leading journalists have been reporting for some time that the war was hopeless, a fiasco that could not be salvaged by more troops and a new counterinsurgency strategy. The conventional wisdom in December held that sending more troops was politically impossible after the antiwar tenor of the midterm elections. It was practically impossible because the extra troops didn’t exist. Even if the troops did exist, they could not make a difference.

Four months later, the once insurmountable political opposition has been surmounted. The nonexistent troops are flowing into Iraq. And though it is still early and horrible acts of violence continue, there is substantial evidence that the new counterinsurgency strategy, backed by the infusion of new forces, is having a significant effect.

– Robert Kagan, The ‘Surge’ is Succeeding

Contrary to what the president says, there is so far no reason to believe that the new security plan has made a big difference in the lives of Iraqis. The massacre of the Shiite pilgrims this week is among the more ominous developments. Protecting the pilgrims was the most important thing the government could have done. That so many were killed is no harbinger of progress. Three weeks into the surge, the Sunni Arab guerrillas are running rings around both al-Maliki’s forces and those of the U.S. How some extra troops for half a year will change that remains about as clear as Baghdad’s sky during a spring sandstorm.

– Juan Cole, Is the Bush surge already failing?

I witnessed the fighting; it was all around me, the army vehicles shooting into the orchard, the shooting back, not more than thirty meters away from where I stood; bullets flying everywhere.

I visualized my daughter’s life without me, the hardship of having no real home; and my son, still twelve, after having lost his father and older brother, to lose his mum, too, at this age would unbalance him forever.

Pease God, spare me … At that moment I realized why so many Iraqis were willing to lead a deprived existence in Jordan, Syria, or anywhere away from this hell on earth; I realized, too, that I had been too quick to judge them.

I walked into the office at ten, said I was sorry for being tardy – and that’s all; my very real brush with death is nothing fascinating, it’s everyday news; it was just me this time.

– “Sahar”, Tardy