Friday, January 12, 2007
To Surge or Purge?
By Nicholas Allanach
Regrettably, President Bush’s “new strategy” (much like previous ones) is for an increased military presence in Iraq to, presumably, establish “peace and prosperity” in the region. Of course an escalation (or “surge”) of 20,000 additional troops to ascertain “peace” through violence defies logic. Then again, as anyone with an ounce of decency is already well aware, this administration is not concerned with logic, only perpetuating greater and more wide-scale conflicts to ensure profit through war as well as full control of any future “free trade” (a.k.a. “our way of life”) in the Middle East.
As waves of ethnocide continue to roll through the region between Sunni and Shiites, American soldiers continue to come home in flag-draped coffins, and resentment towards the American occupation grows, it becomes painfully clear, this “surge” to secure Baghdad will only be—as most everything else in this war—a symbolical gesture to appease the political clock. After all, (unless a withdrawal happens soon –which it won’t) this war is bound to outlast the Bush presidency and will likely be tossed onto the lap of the incoming administration. Thus, it’s easy for Bush to admit “where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me”, because his administration doesn’t intend on fixing any of them –only making them worse.
What is more astounding is that the Democratic “controlled” Congress seems to be only prepared to pay lip-service to this ruinous decision. For instance, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is set to present congress next week with a “largely symbolic” opposition to the surge; however, he is not willing to take real action by cutting off the purse strings that actually make it possible to send in additional troops. Thankfully, many senators (on both sides of the aisle) have expressed their opposition to this (as Senator Chuck Hagel appropriately labeled) “most dangerous foreign policy blunder...since Vietnam.” Admittedly, Senator Edward Kennedy has tried to present legislation to stop this irresponsible escalation; but, unfortunately, like all those who will be marching in the streets in “emergency protest” this weekend– nothing will come of it: troops will still be deployed, violence in Iraq will escalate, and war with neighboring countries (i.e. Iran) will ultimately grow all the more likely.
You might label this view pessimistic; however, this apparent pessimism may actually be more just unwelcome realism. Honestly, I’d love to be optimistic about this plan; however, I don’t see a peaceful Iraq being achieved through military aggression since it will inevitably only fuel further animosity towards the American occupation. I still strongly believe the only way for peace to be achieved is through a total troop withdrawal (something that will also never happen since there are already permanent bases throughout Iraq). The criticism I often receive to the withdrawal argument is the standard –“To step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear that country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale.” Statements like these are equivalent to the fear-mongering so often associated with Bush’s hate-filled and xenophobic rhetoric. It is unfortunate so many of us still fall for his vitriol. The other argument is of course the “pride in our country” stance, which believes we need to “finish the job we started”; of course, one begs to ask, what job is this exactly other than creating a total shit storm of chaos and suffering?
Face it, the United States cannot win a battle it has already lost. Withdrawing troops does not mean the United States should totally give-up on Iraq. After all, there is no reason peace cannot be achieved through diplomacy, total Iraqi independence, and an American investment in Iraq’s infrastructure. Obviously, Bush will never withdraw troops. (So perhaps we should withdraw Bush?) With that said, I would be willing to support the President’s decision to send in more troops, but only if there were at least some kind of a timeline established for Iraqi’s to “stand up” attached to it. But, this is not the case. What will instead be the result is more pain; regrettably, at the expense of those forced to do the bidding of fools.
I know this entry is just a rant, but –like many of us- I do not know the answers. Writing just helps me bring some kind of order to this pandemonium. More importantly, I feel compelled to inform anyone who reads this column of what side of history I firmly stand on –total and immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. I support a “purge” and believe any “surge” is despicable and bound to fail.
The President is again doubling the stakes for us all. But how long will we let him gamble away our future? Soon, the chips will be used-up and the house will no longer acknowledge our credit, at which time we will be forced to pay up.