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Iraq Surge Fails
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Iraq: Stop Bush's killing spree!

 

Doug Lorimer

8 June 2007, for greenleft at www.greenleft.org/au

 

There is little mystery behind Iraqis' tenacious resistance to US President George Bush's war of occupation: over four years of war have left the country devastated and resulted in the deaths of over half a million Iraqis, according to a study published in the influential British medical journal The Lancet.

Since the occupation's early days, there has been a growing convergence in the views of Iraqis and people in the countries of the "coalition of the willing" <197> Australia, Britain and the US. This is the view that the majority of people in all four countries have nothing to gain from the occupation, and that it should end. Now there is a new level of disquiet among the US elite over the ability for the war to be won in any meaningful sense.

General Richard Sanchez, the commander of the US-led occupation forces in
Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004, now says Washington is waging an unwinnable war in Iraq. “I think if we do the right things politically and economically with the right Iraqi leadership we could still salvage at least a stalemate, if you will — not a stalemate but at least stave off defeat”, Sanchez told the May 25 San Antonio Express-News in his first media interview since retiring last year.

Sanchez is the highest-ranking former US officer involved in the war to publicly say that Washington cannot defeat Iraq’s anti-occupation guerrillas. Describing the US military’s situation in Iraq as bleak, Sanchez said: “We brought this on ourselves to some extent because of the abysmal performance in the early stages [of the occupation].”

Within months of the March 2003 invasion, the US-led occupation authority dissolved the Iraqi army, banned the Baath Party and sacked 1.5 million of its members from their government jobs — actions seen by many commentators as providing a social base for the Iraqi resistance.

Sanchez however attributed
Washington’s inability to win the Iraq war to a “crisis of leadership” of the entire US political and military elite extending back to 2002, when the decision was made to invade Iraq.

The Express-News reported, “Sanchez said all isn’t lost”. He called for “improved US and Iraqi leadership”, “coupled with a commitment of at least 100,000 [foreign] troops for six or seven more years”.

However, Sanchez admitted that it is “very questionable” the
US public would support such a commitment if most of the forces were from the US. Opinion polls show that most US voters do not believe Washington can win the war and want US troops withdrawn.

A May 29-June 1 Washington Post-ABC News poll, for example, found that 61% of US voters did not believe the Iraq war was worth fighting and 55% — a new high — “said the number of US military forces in Iraq should be decreased”, with 37% wanting all US troops out by at least the end of this year.

The poll also found frustration with the Democratic Party-dominated Congress — approval of congressional Democrats fell from 54% at the beginning of the year to 44%.

“Much of that drop”, the June 5 Post explained, “was fueled by lower approval ratings of the Democrats in Congress among strong opponents of the war … Many Democratic activists have complained that the 2006 midterm election results represented a call for a course change in Iraq and that so far the Democratic-controlled Congress has failed to deliver.”

In response to the decision of Congress to continue funding the war, the ANSWER anti-war coalition issued a proposal on May 31 for the
US anti-war movement to attempt to organise the largest anti-war demonstration in US history next March in Washington DC, with the goal of mobilising a million protesters.

According to the June 3 New York Times, nearly four months after the start of US President George Bush’s “surge” — which boosted US combat troop numbers in Baghdad to 40,000 (up from 21,000 in January)
US troops “control fewer than one-third of the [Baghdad’s] neighborhoods, far short of the initial goal for the operation, according to some commanders and an internal military assessment”.

According to the one-page internal US military assessment of the Baghdad “security crackdown” that began on February 14 obtained by the paper, US troops had not begun operations or
were still facing fierce resistance in 311 of the city’s 457 neighbourhoods.

The NYT reported that US military planners “had assumed most
Baghdad neighborhoods would be under control around July, according to a senior American military officer”.

“The problems facing American troops are illustrated in troubled western
Baghdad”, the NYT reported. “In the Rashid district there, the First Battalion, Fourth Brigade of the [US Army’s] First Infantry Division has been working since March to carry out the security push. When the battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Patrick Frank, moved in, it was replacing a lone American Army company of 125 soldiers. Yet even with three times as many soldiers patrolling the area, violence has worsened.

“Last month, 249 Iraqi bodies were found in the sector, up from 98 the month Colonel Frank arrived, according to statistics compiled by the battalion … Ten soldiers under Colonel Frank’s command have been killed since March.”

Most of the US troop deaths have been caused by roadside bombs, often planted by resistance fighters working with sympathisers in the Iraqi police and army.  {We are occupying their country.  They are patriots—jk.}

The NYT reported that “angered by the attacks on his soldiers, Colonel Frank ordered a video camera hidden … near a police checkpoint, where patrols had been hit repeatedly.

“When the video was examined after another attack, it showed two Iraqi policemen talking with companions, who were heard off-camera, apparently laying an explosive device. Minutes after the policemen were seen driving away, the camera showed a powerful bomb detonating as an American Humvee came into view.”

The June 3 Washington Post reported: “Insurgents are deploying huge, deeply buried munitions set up to protect their territory and mounting complex ambushes that demonstrate their ability to respond rapidly to US tactics.”

“It is very clear that the number of attacks against US forces is up. The attacks are being directed at us and not against other people”, General James Simmons, deputy commander for US operations in
Iraq, told the Post.

Iraqi resistance attacks on US troops — which most Iraqis approve of, according to surveys — have resulted in a surge in the rate at which
US troops are dying in Iraq. In May, the rate of US troops dying was 4 per day, making that month the third-deadliest for US forces in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion.

The Post reported, “Insurgents are also staging carefully planned, complex ambushes and retaliatory attacks as they target US troops … While few in number, these include direct assaults on US military outposts, ambushes in which American troops have been captured, and complex attacks that use multiple weapons to strike more than one US target … ‘We are starting to see more sophistication and training in their attacks’, said a senior military official in Baghdad.”

Despite the gruesome toll that the war is taking on Iraqis and on the occupation forces sent to fight them, there is no indication that Bush is about to end the bloodshed by withdrawing US troops. Similarly, Prime Minister John Howard continues to support the occupation with Australian troops. This is one of the reasons that people will be demonstrating during the September APEC meeting in
Sydney, which both Bush and Howard will attend. Visit http://stopbush2007.org for more information on organising for the protest.


From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #713
13 June 2007.

 

 

The surge isn’t a failure, for its unspoken objective is not to subdue the Iraq people, but to show U.S. resolve to continue the occupation and thereby add pressure upon its parliament to sign a trade agreement which would turn over the operation of their oil field to foreign corporations.  The second purpose hegemony in the Middle East has succeeded.  Thirteen nations thus far have sign MEFTA, which opens them up to globalization--jk. 

 

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