Thanks for “the surge”: But now what ?

In the aftermath of President Bush’s 2004 re-election the Iraq War fell into chaos, resulting in dozens of American troop deaths each month, and anarchy within the Iraqi government preventing political compromises between divided Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish factions.  In response, the Democratic leadership within the House of Representatives and United States Senate launched a campaign to discredit the President’s decision to invade Iraq. The Bush Administration lost its foreign policy credibility for not having a clear and competent plan to stabilize the country (post- invasion) effectively enough to facilitate a draw down of Coalition forces without jeopardizing Iraqi democracy or the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. American public opinion quickly turned on Mr. Bush and his neo-conservative policy advisors, and the President’s approval ratings have been at all-time lows ever since. At this point the American people began to question…where will the Bush Administration take Iraq onward from here?

The Democrats became relentless and helped popularize the belief that Bush lied to the nation and dragged America into a war it did not need to fight nor could it win. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama failed to engineer plausible solutions to the Iraq equation (other than precipitous withdrawal), and they seemed to enjoy basking in the fact that they were not the ones who pulled the trigger on the bloody conflict. With “the winds” of public sentiment propelling their political sails, the Democrats dwell-ed on past precedents for months as they drove home the mantra “George Bush got us into this mess not us.” For most of the Democratic primary season Senator Obama (the eventual winner of that contest) wanted the American people to focus on old realities (that he opposed the war from the start) and put solving the Iraq question on the back-burner. But the question still remained…where would an Obama administration take Iraq onward from here? 

As hope in Iraq continued to wane John McCain began to tell anyone that would listen that a “surge” in U.S. forces, and a change in military strategy was the only adjustment that could allow for a potential American victory (or at least something resembling a favorable draw) in Iraq. As most observers will now agree Senator McCain was correct in his assessment of the situation on the ground (making Rumsfeld the quick scapegoat), and Iraq has seen widespread security improvements and even minor political progress within the Iraqi Parliament as a result of “the surge.”  

As we move forward into the general election Senator McCain seems to have learned how to play the blame game from the Democrats, and his current campaign stump speech redundantly notes the fact that he proposed “the surge” policy when Barack Obama and the Democrats believed it was doomed to failure.  McCain refuses to set a date on which American troops will leave Iraq (the w-word withdrawal is banned aboard the Straight Talk Express) and his post “surge” plans fall into a vague grey area that ironically mimics Senator Obama’s current solution of pulling out all combat forces within 14-16 months (McCain however strays away from specific dates) and thus ending the Iraq War. It seems as though now its Senator McCain who is pompously content focusing on archived debates and the almost stale and overemphasized effectiveness of “the surge” to score political points over Senator Obama in preparation for the November election. But the question still remains…where will a McCain administration take Iraq onward from here ?

Hell, can anyone take Iraq onward from here ?


~ by americalives on July 29, 2008.

5 Responses to “Thanks for “the surge”: But now what ?”

  1. Nicely put. The debate is begging for someone to change the paradigm. The press thinks Obama did that when his “plan” for removing the troops was blessed by Maliki, but it really just meant Obama gained the upper hand in the old paradigm. McCain needs to declare that debate over (and declare victory in the process) or else he’ll lose the narrative along with the presidency.

  2. We were lied to. Some of us knew it. Some of us knew we would invade Iraq as early as the early fall before we did. It was all neatly orchestrated to achieve public support. The surge was not meant as a military strategy to end teh war. Petraeas admitted this. This was only supposed to be a temporary quell in the fighting to allow political arrangements to be made by the Iraqi governemtn. They have not for the most part made those arrangements. The Sunnis who are now fighting for us, are being paid to do so, and they have suggested that they will revert to the insurgents if the payments stop. Our fight in in Afghanistan, always was, always will be. Iraq was about cheap oil.
    McCain was one of the first on the war badwagon, claiming it would end quickly, cost us virtually nothing and we would be greated as liberators, just as Cheney said. Well, he was wrong. McCain is more scary than Bush. He can’t wait to start another war with Iran. Sorry, but that’s my opinion. Obama has been right from the start. And he merely now echos what the Iraqis call for.

  3. being right about something but wrong about others matters in my opinion sherry.

    obama was right about authorizing the war

    but while in the state senate he had no power on this matter and therefore his opinion didnt matter. he didnt get the intel you get while in the US Senate no reports and probably didnt get to speak to generals or those in the joint cheifs.

    so he was right but i dont know how u reward being right without all the facts and access that you would need to make a rational decision. or maybe you feel obama is so talented sherry that obama need not speak to one single military advisor to make decisions on national security.

    he was wrong about the surge though

    if you or barack obama care about all the lives we saved (US AND IRAQI) by stabilizing that country then you should really regret obama opposing that decision because if the illinois senator had his way those men women and children would be dead.

    this war is a huge mess. its costing too much in lives and money when our economy is in the crapper. i want to get out. but i genuinely would like to save as much american credibility and influence abroad while doing it so we dont have to invade iraq a 3rd time which i feel would be a real possibility if we do a incomplete job this time around. i dont want to be there indefinitely either and i know those views are contractdictory but its hard. this war is hard the deicisons are hard.

    i think we can both agree on that point at least cant we sherry?

  4. I hate to say this but I think from this point on we have to play it by ear, so to say McCain has no plan may not be completely true. I, like a lot of Americans, realize that certain things have to take place or the wrong people might get control of things that would not be good for Iraq or America.

    I have read on McCain’s site what I would call a plan, no it won’t have timetables because I don’t think myself, you can put a timetable on a war…can you? Could we put a timetable on the surge? what if we had? say we gave it 6 months, that time came, what then? Pull the troops back out when the leaders on the ground knew it would just take a little more time?

    As much as we may want the troops home, do we pull them out when we have already went this far? or do we see if the Iraq leaders can get it together? Rome wasn’t built in a day and Iraq won’t be either.
    Here is a link to McCain’s site for Strategy for Victory in Iraq
    McCain had a good plan or strategy about the surge so I will trust him on this one. I sure would not trust Obama to get them out safely.

  5. In your reply to shery, amreicalives talked about the lives saved by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. While Saddam was a terrible dictator, the chaos unleashed (whether unintentional or otherwise) has cost the lives of about 1 million Iraqis. BTW, this is far more than Saddam killed during his regime, which the US supported for most of his rule. Also, since we now know that there were no WMDs, I don’t see how not invading could have cost more lives than invading did.

    Also I don’t agree with the premise that Iraq has been stabilized. Check out the NewsHour’s interview with Professor Juan Cole re: the violence in Kirkuk. Just because we’ve seen a dip in US and Iraqi casualties for a few months, we can’t assume everything is great and that “we’re winning”.

    I don’t think Obama has all the answers either. As his chances of winning the general election increase, I see him being co-opted by the powers that be. He will, if elected, not close the bases the US is building there.

    If we want real security, we will 1) open a dialogue on making the Middle East a WMD-free zone, including the elimination of Israel’s WMDs, and 2) embark on a crash program to end the fossil fuel economy.

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