Politics, philosophy, religion, and other things

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

So much for a "surge."

Republican grumbling over the unpopular war in Iraq has been growing of late--especially as Bush has remained very unpopular and increasingly irrelevant to the future of their party (no one is going to run as the "next Bush"). While they have continued to maintain an impressive amount of party discipline, even when it has meant political suicide, some have begun to suggest that perhaps we should date our military check to the Iraqi government--even suggesting that if things haven't improved by September or December that we should begin to withdraw our troops.

Too bad it is not working. The Pentagon has just informed another 35,000 troops that they might be deployed to Iraq by December to maintain the current higher level of troops into next year. The article does quote Defense Secretary as saying this is only provisional--that not maintaining the current troop levels is a possible response to the Iraqi government failing to make headway on reconciliation between the Shia and Sunni Arabs of Iraq.
I am doubtful. While it is possible that Gates himself might prefer to start withdrawing troops in September if no progress has been made (as he has never been quite the lockstep cheerleader that some others in the Administration are), it is not clear that he has the influence to actually force such a policy to be enacted. More significantly, the Bush Administration has never been against withdrawing the troops. They've just always wanted to do it "soon." After we achieved certain benchmarks, or made enough political progress, or blah-blah-blah. Since the withdrawal has always been predicated on the success of such goals as we have in Iraq, success which largely hasn't materialized, it seems unlikely that Bush will suddenly reverse course and withdraw troops only if we continue to fail come September.

This has always been the joke about the surge. Rhetorically a "surge" implies something like a wave, a sudden jolt, a coming and going. That is not what is going on here. Calling it a "surge" was just a fancy way for Bush to give the finger to the voting citizens of November 2006 by entangling us even further in an unpopular war by sending more Americans to die in Iraq. There is and was no real indication that the sudden increase of troops was meant to be temporary.

1 comment:

Ryan B. said...

As I become more comfortable in my political thoughts (that being mostly libertarian), I also am becoming aware that I don't care as much as I used to about politics in general. I watch things like the Gonzales testimony and I feel like we're past the point where politics matter anymore. Like individual communities will have to essentially shun the government and develop their own way of life outside of it in order to achieve satisfaction with their leadership. Rather than muster the courage to speak out against injustice and idiocy, I find it easier to just quit.

As someone who seems to have confidence that his developing views are important and matter, how do you maintain the zeal to put forth your argumemts with optimism? do you believe that this system can be saved? And if so, on what basis?

On a side note, I watched the Amy Berg documentary "Deliver Us From Evil" today, and if it wasn't the most depressing movie ever, I don't know what is.