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Buying the Meme, Even in the Face of Contradiction?

February 24th, 2008

Okay I’ve got a question. Supposedly the drop in violence in Iraq is due to The Surge™. That’s all we’ve been hearing for the past several months, with even many moderates and liberals giving credit to Bush’s strategy for bringing down violence in Iraq.

And yet, in the same media stream, we get news that Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his Mahdi Army militia to continue a cease-fire for another six months over the six that have already passed. When reporting these stories, the cease-fire is quite correctly credited for the sharp drop in violence, with success in Iraq hinging on al-Sadr’s decision and his ability to make it work.

So here’s the question: if it is so clear that the al-Sadr cease-fire is the reason for the drop in violence in Iraq, why is The Surge™ so universally credited with the same thing elsewhere, when there is no real evidence that it had any real impact? The greater number of troops may have helped after the cease-fire began, but if you look at the numbers, the surge didn’t really show any results–the drop came after the cease-fire.

To me, it comes across as a meme that was conceded to and accepted, like the one that says Republicans are strong on the economy, or that they are better at holding down government spending.

Or am I missing something?

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  1. Tim Kane
    February 24th, 2008 at 11:17 | #1

    To the extent that the surge worked at all is to concede both Kerry’s point in 2004 and General Shinseki’s point prior to the war that hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed to competently occupy Iraq.

    I think also there has been “killing fatigue” as well. So much has been destroyed that little is worth keeping. So much has been destroyed that even the war lords have grown tired of it and I’m sure their own people have said the same.

    I don’t have any special information, but what appears to have happened is a that a lot of ethnic and tribal cleansing has been completed. Indeed there is virtually no longer any Assyrian Christians left in the country, enormous numbers, maybe two million, of middle class have left. The swaths of territory that were in play have been cleansed. You have war lords controlling those territories. We’ve made deals with the Sunni elders in Sunni held lands and we’ve made deals with Shia tribal leaders in Shia held lands and Sadr represents just one warlord/tribal elder who’s staked out a piece of land. And we have become like Britain was over Europe in the 19th century the deal breaker. So what you have are defacto statelets that we have defactoed acknowledged through treaty and deal making. Which means we aren’t really in control of much over there.

    All the the territory that was in play has been resolved and the groups have retreated to their respective corners to lick there wounds and do some healing.

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