Thursday, December 27, 2007

If You Don't Love Juan Cole, There's Something Wrong With You

Just an excerpt, which is an excuse to link to his wisdom, which is a further excuse to draw attention to the fact that he's completely right...

1. Myth: The reduction in violence in Iraq is mostly because of the escalation in the number of US troops, or "surge."

Fact: Although violence has been reduced in Iraq, much of the reduction did not take place because of US troop activity. Guerrilla attacks in al-Anbar Province were reduced from 400 a week to 100 a week between July, 2006 and July, 2007. But there was no significant US troop escalation in al-Anbar. Likewise, attacks on British troops in Basra have declined precipitously since they were moved out to the airport away from population centers. But this change had nothing to do with US troops.

The surge has been an elaborate shell game, played by people who knew what we were actually going to do, which was pay people off long enough to extend the war into the Primary election cycle. Extending the war ensures that the candidates can be hamstrung by the issue and forced to accept the policy. Forcing them to accept the policy ensures that this is a war that more than one President has as his or her legacy.

But will the Mahdi Army stay in its hole until it can no longer stand to see the Sunnis gain more and more power? And what's up with the fact that the US keeps killing Sunnis who throw in with us?

The goal of the surge was political reconciliation. Has that happened? Of course not. But in our media, all we see are stories of success where success is just the illusion they planned to create in order to disguise the fact that the entire war--the entire war--is a failure of epic proportions.

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