Monday, February 11, 2008

The Surge: Success or Prolonging the Inevitable?

The surge is being touted by many, including Republican presidential hopeful John McCain as an arousing success. Yet Defense Sec. Gates is hinting that the reduction of forces in Iraq may be delayed. One has to wonder if this latest decision isn't a political one.

One aspect in guerilla warfare is to live to fight again. In other words to paraphase a popular saying, "when the going gets tough the tough go into hiding" to save themselves for later as the pressures ease up. If the US removes forces the guerillas will certainly start to make themselves known again. In fact bombings look to be on the increase now.

If US troops are kept at current strengths through the fall and the election, Bush and McCain will be seen as successful in Iraq, at least by those who are willing to be taken in by talk. In the event that Republicans lose the election, then Democrats will have to suffer and take the blame for "surrendering" as McCain puts it, if they start to draw down troop levels. Certainly, once the troops start to come home, violence will begin to increase again.

Iraq, thanks to our current president, is a lose-lose situation. Once the country was destabilized, the three groups were free to open up old differences that were kept under wraps by Sadaam's government, much like the ethnic groups in the former USSR. Once we start to pull out soldiers they will once again open up on each other and Al Quaida, if they are indeed active, will be involved as well.

As long as we remain entrenched in the Middle East we will be the enemy. As long as we funnel billions of dollars to Israel, we will be the enemy. The governments in the Middle East are, for the most part, totalitarian, and there is little we can influence to change that. Theirs is a different culture, and we have made so many mistakes there for the last sixty plus years, it is doubtful that anything we do will be successful in the long term.

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