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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Surge Worked: So What's Next?

Temporary Military Success Cannot Overcome the Reality that Iraq was a Major Mistake

As we commemorate the fifth anniversary of one of the great strategic blunders of post World War II, America, we are confronted with a daily drumbeat of how President Bush's surge "worked" and we are winning the war. But what exactly constitutes the surge "working" and how do we define "winning " the war?

The reality of the situation is this. After campaigning against nation building in 2000 and having his chief national security adviser, Condelezza Rice attack the Clinton Administration's policy on any number for foreign policy issues, The Bush White House has taken our nation into the biggest quagmire for nation building purposes we have ever conceived. Instead of engaging in a game of Real Politic where we could have played two hostile states whose dislike for one another equaled their dislike for us (Iraq and Iran) against each other, we choose the weaker one to destabilize and stronger one and more reflexively anti-American one to form a quasi alliance with by befriending Iranian agent Ahmed Chalabi (who was wanted for numerous felonies in Jordan, an ally of the U.S.) and openly siding with Iran's backed Shiite's over the Sunni's backed by our allies Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Now we've reversed course and blame Iran for destabilizing the region and Al-Qaida for attacking us when in fact Al-Qaida is trying to stamp out Iranian influence in Iraq and the Shiites backed by Iran are trying to run Al Qaida out of Iraq. Confused? So is the administration who has failed to set any sort of goal for victory besides the rhetoric of fighting terrorists.

The Administration has consistently lowered the bar on what constitutes victory. As someone who believes in using our military aggressively to stamp out terrorism and threats to the United States this entire operation has been poorly conceived and quite frankly a complete embarrassment to the good men and woman who represent our nation in the Armed Forces.

  • In 2003 it was stamping out Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • By late 2003 it was stamping out an insurgency created by our own ineptitude in disbanding the Iraqi military and Baath part dominated bureaucracy and replacing them with twenty something Republican political operatives.
  • In 2004 it was creating a functioning government
  • By 2005 it was making sure the Shiite majority ran the country in show of "democracy"
  • In 2006 it was stamping out Iranian influence which was at an all time high thanks to our decision to essentially side with the Shiites in a Civil War
  • In 2007 it was reducing terrorism
  • In 2008 it is a blanket statement to win the war?

So in other words even though the surge has worked militarily what is the solution? To keep upwards of 150,000 US troops on the ground for years to come, trying to referee a civil war? This being a Civil War where Washington cannot decide which side we are on, or which side we should back and has in fact HELPED BOTH SIDES KILL AMERICANS AND EACH OTHER by virtue of a confused and conflicted official policy? What are the definitions of victory that the administration can put forth? In addition, how is this war that was to be fully paid for according to then Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld by oil revenue going to be sustainable financially, considering the economic downturn brought on largely by this administration coddling of Wall Street? Will our dedicated fighting men and women have the necessary equipment to not become sitting ducks in the crossfire of a Civil War in which America realistically has no stake? How does this continued boondoggle take us away from our need to aggressively confront militarily and diplomatically terrorist cells in Western Europe, Latin America and other parts of the Middle East? The Surge may have worked militarily but as the Romans learned countless times it's better to cut your losses and re-allocate your resources when it comes to war and the economy than to keep fighting a for a cause that means less than so many others that need to be fought.

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I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.