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February 07, 2007

Not with a Surge, but a Dribble
Posted by Rosa Brooks

I was before the surge before I was against it (though I was also against it even before I was for it). What I mean-- if that was not completely clear-- is that though I wasn't sold on the original rationale for war in Iraq, I did think that if we were going to send in the troops, we should send in a lot of them.

No one listened to me (true, I mostly said this to a bunch of random people standing in my kitchen, but no one listened to General Shinseki, either, and he said it at the Pentagon). So now, four years and thousands of deaths later, the Bush Administration has resisted calls for withdrawal or redeployment of US troops, and opted instead for a so-called "surge" of 20,000 or so additional troops, mainly into Baghdad.

Too little, too late, and seriously flawed, said practically everyone, including me. But you know.... if you're gonna surge, SURGE! Get those extra battalions in there, pronto!

It turns out, though, that the surge is really more of a dribble.  Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki admits that the Iraqi troops are a little late getting organized, and Maj. Gen. William Caldwell insists that on the US side, the surge will actually be more of "a gradual effort." 

So here we are, in the worst of all possible worlds: the violence in Iraq is surging, and we're... not surging, not withdrawing, not redeploying... just slowly placing more US troops in untenable positions, while Iraqi civilians continue to suffer.  Someday, the history books will have harsh words for the architects of this "plan," which is doing little good, and endangering many.

Speaking of the Administration's "surge" architects.... Since I'm quoting famous literary figures today, here's an excerpt from TS Lewis Eliot, "The Hollow Men" (1925):

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

....Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Correction: A commenter points out that I typed "TS Lewis" instead of TS Eliot." I have corrected that, above. Sorry.... too many dead brain cells cluttering up my mind.


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Vietnam redux. "We lost our imperialist war because we didn't use enough force. We didn't kill enough of the natives, and they're still shooting at us." Actually the US won the war in Iraq but lost the occupation. Americans, because of the brutal occupation characterized by random shooting, kidnapping and torture, have just become targets, and more Americans would just mean more targets, which is why Rumsfeld and Casey resisted troop increases. Polls show that most Iraqis favor attacks on Americans--why give them more targets? Makes no sense.

A basic military maxim: Reinforce success not failure.

I think you mean TS Eliot. Just think of Marlon Brando saying those lines toward the end of Apocalypse Now.

Oh. Duh. Yes, "lewis " was a typo. Brain death. Sorry.

I was reading the morning paper and three items shouted out at me.The article, AP dated 8 Feb,2007, "Tension rises, Bagdad crackdown begins". The fact that we are starting to lose helicopters to ground fire should surprise no one. One only needs to read the operational reports of Soviet forces in the former war in Afganistan,to see that camel riding insurgents,who we supplied, were able to defeat Soviet aircraft with RPG and shoulder fired rockets. Of course this administration was in such a hurry to invade Iraq that the "decider", did'nt read his pertinent history lesson. Oh by the way, we learned the same lessons in Nam.
Two, the words of a Iraqi Bagdad resident, "nothing will work, it's too late",we should use to ask the very good question that maybe it is too late? I think so.
Three, the fact that we are putting our ground forces on suicide missions should be addressed by many questions to be asked, such as why are we forcing our soldiers out on patrols with Iraqi army units that have been infiltrated by insurgents? Such a deadly situation,one shoud ask if our senior officer and NCO's are issuing unlawful orders and endangering the men under there care to suicide missions from the top General officer corps to the President? The Uniform Code of Military Justice spells out laws that are pertinent to officers in regards to obeying lawful and un lawful orders. In my opinion,they are UN-lawful for the above reasons.Again , one only needs to read Vietnam action reports to be informed. The Commander in Chief has the obligation to the care of the men under his command, and so down the chain of command.This command structure has been politically corrupted from the top as in Vietnam.
The Congress has a constitutional duty to stop this war because 1) the mission has changed. 2) the President and VP have lied to the Congress and the American public and misled us into this mess. This alone is grounds for impeachment for intentional fraud. The congress has the right and duty to cut funding in this case. The founders intended the responsibility of war powers to be shared,and not the exclusive power of this President. Someone has to stop this abuse of our patriotic young men and women. This, in my opinion is really supporting our troops rather than forceing them on missions of suicide!
If we have to vote out every politician to stop this war ,that is the course we must take. Be they Democrat or Republican, they must be voted out if they support continued action to this immoral, un-lawful,illegal war! This nightmare must and will END!
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