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Saturday, March 29, 2008

"The Surge" fails: U.S. uses air support as it takes sides in Iraqi civil war

In case I haven't articulated it already: I think that people who support George W. Bush's "Surge" in Iraq are, for the most part, idiots.

So for the past year and more we've been hearing "The Surge is working! The Surge is working!" I'm reminded of how some passengers on the Titanic actually believed beyond all rational thought that the ship was coming back up to the surface just before it took its final plunge into the Atlantic.

Those who believe in "The Surge" (sounds like a Michael Bay movie) don't care about the reality of what's going on in Iraq. If they did, they might be outraged to know that whatever success "The Surge" has boasted doesn't come from an increased U.S. military presence nearly as much as the fact that the U.S. government has been BRIBING Sunni militants to "switch sides" and not shoot at American forces.

Some of us knew it was only a matter of time before this mercenary operation failed. I just didn't expect it to happen so soon.

So in case you haven't heard already, Iraq in the past few days finally began collapsing into full-blown civil war. And the United States government is becoming actively involved on the side of the Iraqi government that it installed. Which is something that no sane leaders ever do with another country's civil war. Bush was a fool to step in and Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki was a fool to have accepted the aid, if Bush even offered it. Because if there's one thing that history has proven about civil wars, it's that outside interference always turns a bad situation into something far nastier. It will come back to bite us in the rear sooner or later.

But here's the thing about American involvement in the Iraq civil war: the U.S. is using air strikes against the Shia militias. This is pretty much equivalent to an official statement by the Bush Administration that "We admit that the Surge has not worked at all." Calling in air strikes is a very clumsy, ham-handed way to deal with a ground-based rebel force. For the faction using air support like this, it basically means that you don't care to broadcast wide and clear to your enemies that your own ground-based forces aren't up to snuff and can't win.

So George W. Bush has not only given many Iraqis who had so far been "on the fence" a damned good reason to take up arms against American personnel, he has also let it be known that "The Surge" has failed, and that the capabilities of United States military - the mightiest armed force in the history of the world - are now significantly diminished.

This past week might finally prove to be the point where it can be said that the Iraq War, at last, was the worst foreign policy fiasco of the previous quarter-century, if not longer. Because nothing has been gained, and everything conceivable has been lost because of it: innocent life, countless resources, and now the last shreds of respect for both American diplomacy and military prowess.

I don't know if we'll ever recover from this mess. Maybe we don't deserve to.