The “Surge” is working – a Basra update

Posted: March 27, 2008 in axis of incompetence, Bush, lies, military, war, waste

Once again, the facts on the ground in Iraq have put the lie to the Bush administration’s attempts at wresting success from the jaws of the colossal failure of the so-called War on Terror. As reported in the New York Times, Iraqi security forces have been battling the Mahdi Army, the militia of renegade cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, in a desperate bid to regain control of Iraq’s southern port city of Basra.

Basra, you may recall, is the city that British troops withdrew from last year in the face of increasing violence and factional fighting.

This is the first real major engagement the ISF has led since its formation, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Failure on the ground in Basra will be a major embarrassment both for the Iraqi government and the U.S. military personnel responsible for training the ISF. It could also lead to further destabilization of the entire country and a downward spiral into chaos and violence. Success will further validate the American presence in Iraq, prove the training we’re providing is working, and give a much-needed boost for the nascent ISF. They really need to prove themselves up to the task of keeping their country safe. Failure could wreck everything we, and the Iraqis, have been working toward, and make it extremely difficult to bring American troops back home where they belong.

Of course, we knew this sort of thing would happen, even before we invaded. During the run-up to the war, General Shinseki warned Congress and then-SecDef Rumsfeld (may his soul burn in hell) that while the initial invasion would only require 100 to 140,000 troops, the post-war occupation and rebuilding would need at least three to five times that.

Rumsfeld disagreed, Shinseki retired, and the uninformed opinion of the most incompetent, bullying and arrogant Secretary of Defense in American history prevailed. Trouble is, Shinseki was right then and history has proven it. Taking a country is one thing. It’s easy and quick, as we showed five years ago. Holding it is another thing entirely. The meager force that Bush & Co. left in place to patrol Iraq and keep the warring factions from killing each other has been fighting a losing battle ever since. The so-called “surge” last year only brought the troop levels up to a third of what they need to be in order to do their job effectively. They’ve been doing an excellent job under extremely difficult, nigh-on impossible, circumstances. But they’re overstretched, overdeployed, exhausted, burned-out, and sick of it all. Many are on their third or fourth deployments. They want to come home, and most of all, they want someone else to do it for a change.

The “surge” isn’t working. It wasn’t even really a surge. It was a band-aid solution to an open-heart surgery problem. If Bush was really serious about winning this thing, if he really gave a shit about the welfare of the troops, he’d take steps to re-institute the draft. He’d put out the clarion call of duty to all able-bodied men and women of recruitment age to get out and serve their country. If this truly is the defining fight of our times, if our national survival truly depends on it, then nothing less than a full mobilization is needed.

But he won’t, because he’s a coward and a liar. He’ll continue to play politics with soldiers’ lives, and make others sacrifice for a cause he isn’t willing to sacrifice for himself.

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