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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

selling the Iraq war in Washington « Previous | |Next »
September 11, 2007

The Washington Post reports that David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told Congress today that the military objectives of the Bush administration's troop increase strategy in Iraq "are in large measure being met," and he forecast a reduction of U.S. forces in coming months without jeopardizing gains.


Is this limited withdrawal the beginning of the end? The US is occupying Iraq, and therefore will never really have the allegiance of the people.So what we have in Washington is a selling of progress to the American people in the context of political theatre in the form of a full-scale media spectacle.

Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador to Irag, told the committees that "it is possible for the United States to see its goals realized in Iraq" and that Iraqis are capable of governing themselves. He said Iraq's political trajectory generally "is upwards," although "the slope of that line is not steep."

This account of the situation in Iraq by Leila Fadel speaks differently. She says that interviews with Iraqis, statistics on violence gathered independently by McClatchy Newspapers and a review of developments in the country since the U.S. began increasing troop strength last February provide little reason for optimism. For instance:

Baghdad has become more segregated. Sunni Muslims in the capital now live in ghettos encircled by concrete blast walls to stop militia attacks and car bombs. Shiite militias continue to push to control the city’s last mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhoods in the southwest, by murdering and intimidating Sunni residents and, sometimes, their Shiite neighbors. Services haven't improved across most of the capital — the international aid group Oxfam reported in July that only 30 percent of Iraqis have access to clean water, compared with 50 percent in 2003 — and tens of thousands of Iraqis are fleeing their homes each month in search of safety.

Civilian deaths haven't decreased in any significant way across the country, according to statistics from the Iraqi Interior Ministry, and numbers gathered by McClatchy Newspapers show no consistent downward trend even in Baghdad, despite military assertions to the contrary. Fadel adds that:
The only sign of progress is in the homogenous Sunni Arab province of Anbar, where tribes have turned on al Qaida in Iraq and established relative security in a once violent area. But that success has little to do with the 4,000 U.S. troops who were sent to Anbar as part of the surge of 30,000 additional troops to Iraq. Instead, it began more than four months earlier, with the formation last September of the Anbar Salvation Council to fight the escalating terror of Sunni extremists. Officials agree that the anti-Islamist coalition in Anbar has yet to ally itself with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad, and a recent National Intelligence Estimate warned that it might even threaten it.

Fadel provides an counter discourse to that of American triumphalism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:33 AM | | Comments (4)


Perhaps, "not so much the beginning of the end, as the end of the beginning".

President Bush plans to emphasize that he is now in a position to order troop cuts only because of the success achieved on the ground in Iraq, and that he is not being swayed by political opposition. Aides said that he plans to outline once again what he sees as the dire consequences of failure in Iraq and that he will make the troop cuts conditional on continued military gains.

Bush is trying to put the best face on his decisions. Still, this is pretty rich.But as we know the US is not withdrawing these troops next year because they've achieved some grand success on the ground in Iraq. The US hasn't, and Bush knows it.

We have the same position being echoed in Canberra by Brendan Nelson, the Defence Minister, re the British withdrawal.

why not say it openly. The Petraeus show was a self-serving campaign to deny reality in Iraq, and ensure the war's continuation in order to salvage egos and reputations of Bush and Cheney and the military class.

yes the General was rolled out because the US nation no longer trusts George Bush or Dick Cheney or other Republican office-holders.

They have heard from those individuals over the last several years countless assurances of "progress," only for events repeatedly to prove those claims to be untrue.

The General provides credibility.