So the surge is working, eh?
Well, maybe, though you’d be a fool to necessarily believe it, especially coming from such reliable sources as the Bush administration and the American media. It’s not like they actually ever got any single thing about this war right. Ever.
For the quality of media reporting we’ve been getting – from WMD hype to the Downing Street Memos to election theft – these guys might as well have been on a different planet. What does it tell you about the state of the media in your country when people have to rely on foreign sources to get a remotely accurate account of the news? Can you say ‘Pravda’?
And, as for the congenital liars who call themselves the government of the United States of America, when even former press officers for these clowns are now documenting their deceits, it’s pretty clear just what we’re dealing with.
Before we buy into the supposed sweetness and light of Operation Humbling Bungling, we should remember, first of all, that we are being told that the surge (really a market-friendly term for escalation) is working at the end of the bloodiest year yet for American forces in Iraq. That is somewhat, ahem, less than encouraging. Or at least it would be if we lived in a place that wasn’t a psychiatric ward of 300 million masquerading as a sovereign state. It is also quite possible that fighting in Iraq has diminished – if it indeed has – because so much ethnic cleansing has now been completed. If the Sunni residents have been driven from Shiite neighborhoods, and vice versa, there would certainly be less to fight about. That’s definitely one way to end a war, eh?
It may well also be that US forces are cherry-picking their missions in Iraq, having been effectively driven out of the more challenging areas of the country. We know, for sure, that the British have more or less completely turned over the southern portion of the country to the local militias and called it victory. "Paging a Mr. Carroll, Mr. Lewis Carroll. The British government would like to thank you for your service to the Ministry of Defence."
Of course, there is another quite prominent possible explanation for the alleged reduction in violence. Imagine you were doing strategic planning for the folks intent on driving the US out of Iraq. You would know, just like the rest of us do, that Bush is now going to start withdrawing American forces, because he has to. (And, of course, virtually everybody else in the Coalition of the Missing has long ago departed.) Already extended rotations are now ending, there are no additional troops available, and a draft would be out and out political suicide. Clearly, the maxed-out American military has only one direction left to go – home. Knowing that, Mr. Strategist, what would be your advice? Pretty plainly, I think, it would be to wait and fight when your enemy has fewer troops in the field.
Doing so would also have an additional advantage. The war is already hugely unpopular in America. If expectations are raised once more and hopes dashed again, the result will be serious political hostility that will prove finally fatal to the war – just as the Tet offensive did for a similar war forty years ago. Heck, maybe that other branch of government, controlled by that other political party, might even find itself motivated to actually do something about this tragedy. Stranger things have happened, you know – though not often.
There are other good reasons to be dubious about this ‘success’. It would be more than just a bit prudent, wouldn’t it, to also consider that if this is victory, at what price has it come? Even if the war has now been turned around, and even if we ignore that that probably would still mean another decade of occupation and bloodshed before American forces could come home, what has been accomplished? We invaded a country which had nothing to do with 9/11 or any security issues the United States faced at the time. In doing so, we expended enormous blood and treasure. We mortgaged what the Founders referred to as our "sacred honor", then proceeded to drain and bankrupt that account. And, without question, we succeeded only in radically diminishing our national security, even by the blinkered standards of what passes for conventional conceptions of what that entails. In short, even a ‘victory’ in Iraq would represent an incredible debacle in terms of any remotely meaningful cost/benefit analysis. If you paid someone a million bucks to put a shot through your foot for you and then celebrated what a clean wound it was, it would make about as much sense.
Finally, before we all party down in recognition of the wonderful progress made in Iraq, let’s bear in mind this small crucial fact: The entire point of the surge was to create the political space for Iraq’s warring factions in government to reconcile and actually do something. Almost an entire year has now gone by since the surge began, and there is no sign whatsoever of political progress. This means that even if the highly dubious military success has in fact been such, it has completely failed the greater purpose for which it intended. Imagine if the United States invaded Argentina tomorrow with equal ‘success’ as the surge, in pursuit of getting the Chinese government to quit their day jobs and become professional square-dancers, and you have a pretty good idea of the magnitude of the disconnect. A ‘successful’ war which does not successfully serve some particular political goal is no success at all. Unless, of course you’re just doing it to keep your cronies flush of the hundreds of billions in spoils. But we all know that Republicans are far too patriotic for that.
And so, even the best case scenario that can be made for the ‘success’ of the ‘surge’ is embarrassingly pathetic. Not for nothing have even some conservatives described this war as the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history.
But let’s forget all that, and, just for the sake of discussion, assume Little Bush has achieved something worthwhile in Iraq during 2007. Shouldn’t he be recognized for his achievement?
No. He should be impeached.
Some may claim that he has committed no crime related to Iraq (that’s actually an endless list, but don’t get me started). For those folks, it is well to remember that an impeachable offense is, as Gerry Ford once aptly reminded us, anything that a majority of the House of Representatives believes it to be on any given day. I’m not one who believes that this nuclear warhead of constitutional government should be used lightly, but surely we can all agree that gross incompetence and negligence are well within the range of what constitutes an impeachable offense. Imagine if the country had a president who had gone barking mad in his first year of office, and was making reckless decisions that were grievously harming us. Would anyone argue that these behaviors didn’t rise to the level of impeachable offense, and that the country should endure another three years of serious damage because insanity wasn’t a high crime or misdemeanor? Heck, would anyone argue that gross incompetence and negligence aren’t impeachable offenses when lying about oral sex is? (Okay – I mean anyone besides those people?)
If the surge is working, Bush should be impeached precisely for the reason that it is working. This is a president who was told by at least two top generals in the military that he would need additional forces in Iraq in order to succeed in his objectives. Notice that they were not saying that the war was immoral or even a bad policy choice. They were simply arguing that to effectively achieve the political objectives Bush was pursuing, he would, in their professional opinion, need a much greater level of force presence. Notice that the same president who today incessantly hides behind the supposed force requirements of his generals, falsely claiming to defer to their military judgement, not only disastrously failed to adhere to this advice in 2003, but went so far as to cashier these career officials out of the military and destroy their careers instead in order to send a warning to anyone else stupid enough to be so candid.
Okay, so he’s a liar and a hypocrite. That ain’t exactly headline news. But here’s the larger point: If the surge is working, it would have worked a lot better had Bush listened to Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki and others back at the beginning. The fact that he did not demonstrates gross misjudgement which quite likely has meant the difference between a stupid and ill-advised war that might have ended quickly and relatively painlessly, on the one hand, versus a stupid and ill-advised war that will probably never end and has taken over a million lives so far, on the other. However ironic it certainly is, it is nevertheless indisputable that the very ‘success’ of the ‘surge’, such as it is, is therefore actually an indictment of Bush. It proves how dangerously wrong he was when he rejected precisely this advice even before the war was launched. The results of that failure of judgement have been astronomically huge and catastrophically disastrous. Anyone guilty of such egregious errors has no business being commander-in-chief, his slimy fingers gripping the nuclear trigger. If the surge is a success, Bush should be impeached for gross incompetence.