The surge they say is working – and American support is supposed to be on the upswing …or so they say. O’Hanlon and Pollack are trotted out to make their faux critical comments about the positive developments and we all look towards September (or November?) when Gen Petraeus – who can’t even keep track of arms shipments – will deliver his glowing analysis of the surge and why such success means we must stay in Iraq for another 9-10 years.
While the inherent dishonesty of the O’Hanlon/Pollack “report” has been dissected by Glenn Greenwald and others here and elsewhere – and congressional visitors have noted that success does not look so successful when they can only move short distances around the Baghdad region via helicopter (as Congresswoman Jan Scharkowsky reported on a press briefing call this past Friday), we’re not supposed to notice.
Yet even a quick review of the news from Iraq shows how the disaster simply grows. Scan these headlines on Aswat Iraq’s English site – this does not look like success.
Or look at today’s report in The Guardian (UK) “Fatigue Cripples US Army in Iraq – hardly “positive” news.
Or turn to that “good war” in Afghanistan where our Nato allies are describing US forces as “Cowboys” and one British Senior Officer has asked that US Special Forces leave his district after yet more air strikes killed yet more Afghan civilians.
The same tactics of desperation are used over and over in Iraq. As Michael Schwartz accounts in his must-read analysis of American strategic failures in Iraq, the US military is shifting to a reliance on air power in a desperate attempt to lower US casualties and fabricate “positive” news for domestic consumption:
These localized applications of “overwhelming” force, when meeting sustained resistance, lead to the calling in of air power or, in some cases, artillery fire. A strategy guaranteed to kill and wound guerrillas and local inhabitants alike, destroy homes, generate more refugees, wreck local economies, and, in the end, create ghostly, uninhabitable former neighborhoods.
Ironically (but logically), while target communities have been crippled by such prolonged operations, both the insurgency and the jihadists have only grown stronger. The attacks swell the ranks of the insurgency, while a small but sufficient supply of embittered individuals become willing to sacrifice their lives to achieve some measure of revenge against the American occupation and/or its Shia allies.
While all this goes on, desperate American military leaders have embraced, amplified, and expanded their anti-al-Qaeda-in-Iraq alliance with local guerrillas in al-Anbar Province — so much for dismantling Iraqi militias — and are lurching toward a new set of disasters.
As Mahmoud Othman, a veteran Iraqi politician, put it, “The Americans are defeated. They haven’t achieved any of their aims.”
As the spin becomes ever more frantic, it’s up to us to keep reminding our “leadership” that we are paying attention to the real reports and we are not feeling more “positive.” We worked hard to elect a majority and we expect them to actually end the occupation – not after the next election or with some complicated cover-up that leaves tens of thousands of residual forces – we expect them to get us out – now.
Photo: A man stands in his house that was damaged during a U.S. military air strike in Baghdad’s Sadr City August 8, 2007. A U.S. helicopter strike in Baghdad’s crowded Shi’ite slum of Sadr City killed 13 people and wounded eight early on Wednesday, hospital sources said. U.S. military officials did not immediately respond to queries about the incident. REUTERS/Kareem Raheem (IRAQ)
h/t to Jerid – thanks!