Friday, September 14, 2007

The Petraeus Show

Once again Sidney Blumenthal over at sums it up better than most with an article entitled : How Bush is trying to save face in Iraq.

Here is his summantion at the end of the article:

If the surge has no connection to political goals in Iraq, it still has strategic political goals, just not in Iraq. The surge is the military means to Bush's political ends at home. "So now I'm an October–November man," Bush told his authorized biographer, Robert Draper, in "Dead Certain." "I'm playing for October–November." The rollout of the Petraeus report is the last major political offensive of the Bush administration. Petraeus' reputation is the token for buying precious time for an unpopular president. The Democratic Congress lacks sufficient majorities to alter Bush's policy. Petraeus' show is staged to keep Republicans, on the edge of sheer panic, from defecting en masse. Through Petraeus, Bush is locking in the congressional leaders and the Republican presidential candidates behind his policy. The general has been wound up as a mechanism for Bush's endgame -- perpetuating the president's Iraq policy until the conclusion of his term and assigning responsibility for "victory" or "defeat" to his successor. In his analogizing to the Vietnam War, Bush has begun to lay the basis for a stab-in-the-back, who-lost-Iraq debate, a poisonous legacy.

Sen. John Warner, the Virginia Republican who announced his retirement last week and who has called for disengaging from Iraq, asked Petraeus a simple and obvious question about Bush's policy, one that Bush likes to answer: "Do you feel that that [strategy] is making America safer?" Unexpectedly, Petraeus paused. "I believe this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objectives in Iraq," he finally replied, carefully sidestepping a direct response. So Warner repeated his question: "Does the [Iraq war] make America safer?" Again Petraeus paused before answering, "I don't know, actually. I have not sat down and sorted it out in my own mind."

In the end, Petraeus could not convince even himself. Petraeus has lost his battle. Crocker has revealed the strategy as hollow. But the policy goes on."

Meanwhile over at CounterPunch , Patrick Cockburn, who has been living in Baghdad since 2003, notes what is really going on in Iraq, irrespective of the 'surge':

"The truest indicator of the level of violence in Iraq is the number of people fleeing their homes because they are terrified that they will be murdered. According to the UN High Commission for Refugees the number of refugees has risen from 50,000 to 60,000 a month and none are returning.

Iraqi society is breaking down. It is no longer possible to get medical treatment for many ailments because 75 per cent of doctors, pharmacists have left their jobs in the hospitals, clinics and universities. The majority of these have fled abroad to join the 2.2 million Iraqis outside the country.

The food rationing system on which five million Iraqis rely to stay alive is also breaking down with two million people no longer being fed because food cannot be distributed in dangerous areas. Rice and beans are of poor quality and flour, tea and baby formula are short. Unemployment is 68 per cent of the workforce, so without a state ration and no jobs, more and more Iraqis are living on the edge of starvation.

No wonder then that what Iraqis believe is happening to them and their country is wholly contrary to the myths pumped out by the White House and the Pentagon. The opinion poll commissioned by ABC news, the BBC and Japanese Television NHK and published yesterday shows that 70 per cent of Iraqis say that their security has got worse during the last six months when the US increased the number of its US troops in Baghdad and surrounding provinces. A solid 57 per cent believe that attacks on coalition forces are acceptable. Some 93 per cent of Sunni approve such attacks and 50 per cent of Shia also back them."

See : The Fakery of General Petraeus : What Iraqis Think About the Surge
Counterpunch- Sept. 11, 2007

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