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The Mythology Surrounding Petraeus' Surge In Iraq Will Keep Us Trapped In Afghanistan

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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:36 AM
Original message
The Mythology Surrounding Petraeus' Surge In Iraq Will Keep Us Trapped In Afghanistan
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 05:03 AM by Hissyspit
http://www.alternet.org/story/147377/the_mythology_surr...

AlterNet / By Joshua Holland
The Mythology Surrounding Petraeus' Surge in Iraq Will Keep Us Trapped in Afghanistan

The real story of Petraeus' job in Iraq is that he failed to accomplish one of the most crucial tasks of the occupation.

June 30, 2010

- snip -

That the Iraq surge was a success is almost a universally held belief, despite ample evidence to the contrary. That belief lends unearned weight to Petraeus counter-insurgency doctrine, known as COIN. The idea is not only to kill as many of the enemy as possible, but to create a functional, legitimate state that can police its own territory and win over the hearts and minds of the population. The efficacy of COIN has become an article of faith across the ideological spectrum, a belief held tightly by neocons and liberal interventionists alike. But it has no track record of success whatsoever, either in Iraq or elsewhere in the world. At best, it remains an unproven theory of warfare.

- snip -

Seven years, thousands of American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives later, the conventional wisdom is that Iraq is well on the way to fulfilling its promise. This is how the New York Times Dexter Filkins and Alissa Rubin describe the country -- and Petraeus contribution to the war effort -- today:

- snip -

As I write this, a sampling of todays headlines out of Iraq: 12 killed in Iraq attacks, including army general, 14 Officials Killed in Blistering Violence Across Iraq, Turkish warplanes bomb northern Iraq and Iraq rivals meet to bring premiership row to head. The countrys leadership has been deadlocked in an election crisis that has persisted since a vote marred by charges of violence and fraud on March 7. Middle East scholar Juan Cole describes Iraq today as the scene of an ongoing civil war between Sunnis and Shiites that is killing roughly 300 civilians a month.

The United States and its allies have sunk hundreds of billions of dollars into the country. But despite the investment, last week security forces opened fire and killed two people during a protest against repeated power cuts that have reduced electricity supply there to less than two hours a day. Reuters reported that farmers are killing for water in some rural areas. "Today, we don't have a fully functioning government as it is totally preoccupied by the security situation and political wrangling so we don't have a strong role to deter any possible widespread conflict" over resources, Karbala-based analyst Jaafar Moahmmed Ali told the wire service. "Besides, we have an acute shortage of water nationwide and a very bad economic situation that makes it very hard for farmers to do other work."

- snip -

Juan Cole noted that the violence also decreased as a result of communities that had been fully "cleansed" of one or another ethnic or sectarian group. In some ways, he wrote, U.S. forces inadvertently hastened a Shiite victory in a simmering civil conflict. Petraeus then paid off Sunni resistance groups -- the Sons of Iraq -- to put down their weapons and support the central government, a tactic thats being replicated to a lesser degree in Afghanistan and that proved effective, but only in the short term.

- snip -

The bigger problem is that its largely impossible to implement such a grand strategy in a military with an entrenched warrior culture. When General Stanley McChrystal was axed last week after making inappropriate comments to Rolling Stone, it generated tons of press because of the political intrigue surrounding the move, but the most important part of the story was largely missed. Petraeus had mentored McChrystal, who became an equally ardent advocate of COIN. But the Rolling Stone article revealed a high command that has little interest in giving equal weight to the work of its civilian counterparts. It portrayed senior staffers as dismissive of other branches of government, and showed that even COINs strongest adherents werent buying into the strategy fully where it counts the most. As I wrote at the time, McChrystal and his aides are protecting his legacy against historys harsh judgment of what will prove an incoherent policy from its inception.

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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:56 AM
Response to Original message
1. History will both revile and ridicule the United States, Bush, and Obama for these war-crimes.
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 04:56 AM by WinkyDink
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LawnKorn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 05:34 AM
Response to Original message
2. The success of the "Surge" and "Bush victory in Iraq" were media fabrications to elect McCain

The fabrication failed miserably, and McCain lost the election. The real winners here the defense contractors who continue to profit from these never ending wars.

United Technologies / Sikorsky are selling every helicopter they can manufacture. Alliant Armament Systems is selling every bullet they can make. With the downturn in the economy, every spot in the Army's recruitment pipeline is filled.

For the people in the business of war; business is good.

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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:35 AM
Response to Original message
3. But the MSM tells us all is well... Americans live under a hoax called MSM, becoming
akin to cold war propaganda.
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VMI Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 06:57 AM
Response to Original message
4. But I've read on here that the surge was a success.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
5. Obama doubling down on Afghanistan....AGAIN!
Nothing good will come from this.
Replacing McCrystal with Patraeus = an INCREASE in the insanity

I am so sick of the Lesser of Two Evils.
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