Monday, February 25, 2008

Consequences of a failed surge: Turkey invades, Serbia defies

For the last 3 months, Bush apologists have been huffing and puffing about the success of the "surge" in Iraq. But a quick look at the hastening of international events casts doubt on any claims of progress. Meanwhile, political developments appear more and more to be leading us toward World War III.

Is the "surge" working?

Violence? What violence?
Bush apologists say that overall violence has fallen off in Iraq due to the increased troop levels brought about by the "surge." Putting aside the fact that American casualties over the last four months (128 since October) don't lend a lot of credence to that assertion, all we need do is look at the stated objectives of the surge, back when Junior was pushing it, in early 2007.
  • The Iraqi government was to take responsibility for security by November 2007.
  • The Iraqi government was to pass legislation that provided for the distribution of oil revenues amongst all Iraq's ethnic groups.
  • The Iraqi government was to spend $10 billion on reconstruction and infrastructure.
  • Iraq was to hold pronvicial elections.
  • Iraq was to reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a process for modifying the Iraqi constitution.
Well, not a single one of these objectives has been met. You can read an assessment from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace here. In light of the failure to meet these objectives, the reduction in overall violence (to the extent that it is even real) would seem to be something that is, at best, a temporary ceasefire between warring factions.

Turkey has had enough

Turkish troops bound for Iraq
Meanwhile, Iraq's neighbor to the north, and an ostensible NATO ally, Turkey has apparently decided that the surge is not working. Frustrated at the Iraqi government's inability to deal with the problem of Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) rebels lobbing mortars across the border, Turkey launched an incursion into Iraq on February 22.

Back in October, Junior and company had urged Turkey not to invade, pleading for Ankara to give the Iraqi government a chance to address the problem and squelch the PKK. Well, the attacks have continued and the Turks have learned what everyone else from Tony Blair to victims of Hurricane Katrina have known for a while now: promises from this White House are like so much cotton candy. They just melt away to nothing.

The White House responded to the Turkish invasion with a mealy-mouthed whimper: "It's obviously not an ideal situation," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters. "We hope that this is a short-term incursion so that they can help deal with the threat."

Serbs scoff at Condi

Party time in Belgrade
American prestige suffered a huge setback last week when the American embassy in Belgrade was set aflame in protest to the United States recognition of Kosovo as a sovereign state much to Serbia's chagrin. International laughing-stock Condi Rice appeared impotent and toothless. "We do hold the Serb government responsible. We've made that very clear," she whined. "We don't expect that to happen again."

When an American embassy is attacked like that, while Serbian police and firefighters stand idly by, it is a direct slap at the administration and at Condi, specifically. The Serbs know the administration's credibility is so low that there is nothing it can do in response.

World War III looms

When the "surge" inevitably failed to bring about any real political change to the conditions in Iraq, America appeared helpless and weak. And, when American prestige is as low as it is, the possibility for political miscalculation is huge. A similar set of conditions existed in 1914 Europe. But, unlike back then, when the problems were somewhat centered in the Balkans, today's potential powder kegs stretch to all corners of the globe.

Many of the dangers that exist were not created by the Bush administration's illegal invasion of Iraq. But Junior, in his who-cares-about-tomorrow manner, has burned up nearly all of America's credibility and prestige in trying to defend that invasion, leaving this country helpless to effect the course of events. The administration's short-sighted and greedy agenda has made us all hostage to the political calculations of people like Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Osama bin Laden, and Pervez Musharraf.

Keep your seat belts fastened, folks.

1 comment:

libhom said...

One kind of violence has dramatically increased since the start of the escalation: violence against Iraqis by US troops acting under orders of the Bush regime. This kind of violence generally is ignored in the corporate media.