Monday, June 4, 2007

Iraq: The Handwriting On The Wall - Whose Surge?

On Sunday June 03 the NYT reported that:

Three months after the start of the Baghdad security plan that has added thousands of American and Iraqi troops to the capital, they control fewer than one-third of the city’s neighborhoods, far short of the initial goal for the operation, according to some commanders and an internal military assessment.

. . . In an interview, [General Vincent Brooks] said that while military planners had expected to make greater gains by now, that has not been possible in large part because Iraqi police and army units, which were expected to handle basic security tasks, like manning checkpoints and conducting patrols, have not provided all the forces promised, and in some cases have performed poorly.
This morning, Monday June 04 The Herald reported that:
The toll from the booby-trap devices rose from 35% of all American fatalities in January to 80% last month, despite an outlay of more than £2.5bn on countermeasures since 2003.

Now commanders are questioning the effectiveness of spending huge sums on electronic jammers, extra vehicle armour and research teams while their soldiers continue to die in ever larger numbers.

A total of 127 died in May, the third worst total for US forces since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The previous most lethal months were April and November, 2004, when 135 and 137 soldiers died in large-scale offensives in Falluja.

One officer told the Herald: "The instinctive US response is always to look for a technological solution. The only things which will solve this are better intelligence targeting the guys who design and lay the bombs and winning the support of the locals to undermine the insurgents' power base."

The Pentagon, which admits that "improvised explosive devices" - IEDs - are its single biggest problem, said it intended to spend another £2bn this year to fund experimental countermeasures.
Rescue missions by road and helicopter to bomb attack sites are themselves coming under carefully-planned attacks.

The tactics mimic those used by the IRA against British troops in Northern Ireland, where a second booby-trap was often laid after a first had gone off to catch troops sealing off the area in what became known as a "come-on" ambush.
In Iraq:
...(80%) say they want foreign forces to leave within a year (72% of Shias in the rest of the country), according to a poll conducted by World Public Opinion in September. None of the Shias polled in Baghdad want U.S.-led troops to be reduced only "as the security situation improves," a sharp decline from January, when 57 percent of the Shias polled by WPO in the capital city preferred an open-ended U.S presence.

This brings Baghdad Shias in line with the rest of the country. Seven out of ten Iraqis overall--including both the Shia majority (74%) and the Sunni minority (91%)--say they want the United States to leave within a year.
"What's most troubling is that the United States is not only seen in a negative light but as an enemy," ... "When asked to name the two countries that pose the greatest threat, the vast majority, about 80 percent, name the United States and Israel."
The WPO Poll was taken in September 2006. The situation has only deteriorated since.

Who, exactly, is doing the 'surging'?

On April 08, 2007:
[Iraqi cleric] Muqtada al-Sadr urged the Iraqi army and police to stop cooperating with the United States and told his guerrilla fighters to concentrate on pushing American forces out of the country, according to a statement issued Sunday. The statement, stamped with al-Sadr's official seal, was distributed in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Sunday -- a day before a large demonstration there, called for by al-Sadr, to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. "You, the Iraqi army and police forces, don't walk alongside the occupiers, because they are your archenemy," the statement said.
Up till April this year al-Sadr had been telling his people to restrain from open battle with US Troops.

Iraqis will never quit. Iraqis want exactly what most Americans want... they want their own country - without a foreign occupying army. They don't want 'help' from US Troops - they want them gone, or dead.

They also want the Iraq puppet government gone, or dead:
"More than half the MPs, ministers and senior officials are on vacation, sick leave or on official assignment abroad (at any given time)," a government official told IPS on condition of anonymity. "It is common practice now that they spend more time abroad than in their offices. The main reason is their fear of being targeted inside the country "... Over the past year, an increasing number of Iraqis have begun to see the Iraqi government as no more than pawns of the United States: International Press Service

Let's get something straight ~ there is no effective Iraqi government. Most of its leaders, including President Talabani, have garnered their loot and are heading for far away places knowing that they are marked men outside the protection of the infamous Green Zone ~ which is becoming increasingly vulnerable.

With up to 20 to 30 Rocket attacks daily in the Green Zone ~ the handwriting is on the wall ~ despite Bush's face saving Surge, the country is doomed and " Iraq appears to have gone back to a time when tribal leaders and clerics were the only powers that could solve some of their problems."
No one, no one, is pleased that people, US troops and Iraqis, are dying because George Bush is homicidal enough to try to buy himself enough time to end his term without facing reality.

It is time for the Democratic Leadership to stand up, show that they have some principles, and time for them to do what they were elected last November to do.

It is time for the Democratic Leadership to stop funding George W. Bush's Iraq and Mid-East Debacle, return control of Iraq to Iraqis, and bring US Troops home, alive, to their families.