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As General Petraeus prepares to give his report to Congress, the debate rages: was the “troop surge” in Iraq a success?
Everyone debating that question is an idiot. “Is the surge working?” is totally the wrong question to be asking. This debate is like haggling over the price of a used car, without anyone mentioning the highly relevant fact that the car is on fire.
It was a clever PR distraction. The Bush administration managed to control the conversation, steering it away from questions like “is the Iraqi government on the verge of collapse?” and “why the hell haven’t we left Iraq yet?”, and shifted it to questions like “did fewer Iraqis die in Baghdad in August than died in February?” And then, for good measure, they lie about the answer.
And then good liberals take the bait, and begin arguing about the death statistics, losing sight of the big picture. I’ll admit, that’s the tactic I’m initially drawn towards. “They’re lying! I must research and prove that they’re lying, then we’ll Win!” But the warmongers aren’t after logic or truth, it’s just a stall tactic. “We’ve got to wait and see if the surge succeeds” bought them eight more months of war, and if the current debate keeps the waters muddy enough, it might get them all the way through April.
The surge was never a good idea. Never. It was such bullshit that there was never really any need to even discuss it. Help bring stability to a roiling civil war in a nation of 24 million people, by increasing the number of American troops from 130,000 to 150,000 (although, to be fair, I imagine they also added tens of thousands of contractors and mercenaries as well, without bothering to inform the American people)? Who the fuck in their right mind would believe that would be a “solution”? To their credit, most Americans didn’t buy it (according to the polls).
As I say almost every radio show, the real questions should be “if the vast majority of the American people want us out of Iraq, why are we still in Iraq?” Or even more poigniantly, “if the vast majority of Iraqis want us out of Iraq, why are we still in Iraq?”
That last one is a national disgrace (our nation, not theirs). How arrogant or racist do you have to be to figure that you know better than the 20+ million people who’ve lived their whole lives in a nation you’ve barely set foot in? The US talks so much about democracy, and about the good of the Iraqi people, yet keep our war machine in their neighborhoods despite their wishes? I imagine some American politcians would answer that with “what the Iraqi people don’t understand is…” No, they understand just fine! They fucking live there! They’ve always fucking lived there! They see the bullets and the blood every day, they have to navigate life through the militias and gangsters and occupiers! They know their government is a bunch of corrupt villains and could collapse any day. They know that things might change radically once the US troops leave. And, knowing all that, they still want the US to go home. Why can’t we honor that?
Yeah, I know the answers to my own questions. But it’d be nice if common sense, respect, and honesty fit into the equation somewhere.
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