Not Ready to Make Nice

December 20, 2007 by susan
Rosey the riveter, Surge!

When conservatives like columnist Clifford May suggest that those of us who opposed the surge now graciously concede that it’s working, I’ll go along -- if they’ll concede that the purpose of the surge was to buy President Bush time to get out of office without conceding the colossal failure of his mission.

But in the holiday spirit of light prevailing over darkness, I've been watching the lull in violence and hoping that the worst is truly behind us, that our troops will be home soon, and that America will once again bask in a kinder light of world opinion.

But I’m getting a familiar feeling. That old Bushian “Fool me once — you can't get fooled again" feeling.

The given reason for the surge was to support the given reasons for the invasion: To rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction, to avenge the attacks of 9/11 – even though they had nothing to do with Iraq, and to create a beacon of democracy in the heart of the Arab world.

Saddam is gone, and that’s good, though his trial and subsequent hanging was hardly a display of democratic justice at its best, but then again, our country has slipped in that regard as well, so the bar has been lowered.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but now the country is flooded with American weapons of medium destruction. According to a new report prepared by the inspector general of the Department of Defense, more than $1 billion in military equipment supplied to Iraqi forces, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, cannot be accounted for. On top of that, the Iraqi government has signed deals to buy $1.6 billion of arms from the United States, with another $1.8 billion in possible purchases set to happen before the end of this year. The surge is working?

As for avenging 9/11 and defeating Al-Qaida, well, wrong country, wrong Al-Qaida. The American occupation of Iraq has built solidarity among former enemies, and Osama bin Laden is probably taping his holiday video greeting at this moment. The surge is working?

The “beacon of democracy” part is still a stretch, but there’s no denying that violence is down in Baghdad and that some of the 2.1 million people who fled to Syria or Jordan since the start of the war are trickling back, although relief officials have suggested that it's due to Syria limiting visas and refugees running out of money.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, they are returning to a country now segregated along ethnic lines, where another 2 million people are internally displaced. They are returning to limited electrical and sanitary services in cities made up of walled enclaves with checkpoints secured by American soldiers – or teenaged guards toting AK-47’s. Says one Iraqi, “Iraq is a prison, and now I live in my own little prison.” The surge is working?

As for winning in Iraq, does anyone know what that means anymore? We’ve joined forces, or at least reached tacit agreements, with the various militias and religious leaders which last year were blowing us up, while becoming increasingly disenchanted with the government we sacrificed American blood and treasure to put in place. The surge is working?

Even if the lull in the violence is a turning point and not a hiccup, have we gotten what we paid for? As of December 2, 2007, 3,883 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq and 28,582 have been seriously wounded to achieve this dazzling display of democracy. And it’s costing us $270 million a day, totaling over $600 billion so far, with President Bush asking for $200 billion more for 2008.

Invading Iraq was a disaster for America, is a disaster for America, and, I fear, will always be a disaster for America. So sorry, Mr. May, I'll hope for a miracle, but I'm not ready to make nice.

Posted in


Mr. Forward (not verified) | December 20, 2007 - 6:59am

The point is to win the war on terror, not to make liberals happy.


paul miller (not verified) | December 20, 2007 - 9:08am

Mr. Bean has a 10:00 am presser - I'm sure he'll be able to explain how well the "surge" has worked - just in time for the holdiays


Anonymous (not verified) | December 20, 2007 - 9:58am

Thats special. You had to go way back to August.

Sure you could not find anything a little more current than this dubious source?


barbara says (not verified) | December 20, 2007 - 10:11am

Actually, the problems in this country go back farther than August. Try November 2000 and, more recently, November 2, 2004, which now is clearly America's current-time day of infamy. The day George and Dick officially began their long-planned excellent adventure. The day America was condemned to continue its slide down the slippery slope to a signing statement lalaland of lies, more lies, deceit, torture, constitutional abuses, arrogance, disregard for checks and balances, cronyism, a thoroughly corrupt justice system, abuse of power, immoral war waged, immoral war threatened, failure to clean up after the last war (think Afghanistan), flim-flammery and flip-floppery, and loss of global esteem and goodwill earned -- EARNED -- over decades. This transcends political differences. George W. Bush is not a real Republican by any definition. He is a loose cannon, and as noted before, if you wonder about the destructive potential for same, read Victor Hugo's short story, "The Cannon." The parallel to this presidency is unmistakeable. Just so you know.


Abraham (not verified) | December 20, 2007 - 10:32am

I read your counterpoint in this morning's StarTribune, and found it quite on target (whoops! -- didn't mean to use a military term).

"In war, truth is the first casualty." And this war is no different. Maybe worse because of the communications (dys-communications) technology.

Rummy got too many folks thinking the issue was the troops. Sen. Warner said the same in the Senate the other day: if we don't pass the big spending bill, we will be hurting the troops. No one has hurt American troops more than Bush-Cheney-Rummy, et al. (Impeach!)

The big lie is the "glory" of war that is inflicted on youth.



perhansa (not verified) | December 20, 2007 - 12:18pm


The point is anyone who seriously believes you can "win" the "war" on terror is as self-deluding as this President.

Terror has always been a weapon of choice along with open revolution, guerilla warfare, and sabotage. It will always be a weapon as long as it's deemed effective and will become a more effective weapon as arms are spread around the globe by the US, Soviets, Iran, et al, resources get scarcer, more people are marginalized and fanatical theological and ideological mindsets have fertile ground in which to grow.

It's shear delusion and hubris to think we can win this "war" and a major error to have declared it a "war" (like the War on Drugs--are we winning, have we won, do we need a surge?).

We will never be entirely safe from terrorism. Mostly what we've done in this "war" is enhance the recruiting capacity of terrorists. We can't even run a semi-successful campaign to reduce terrorism so long as saber rattling, fearmongering, and simplistic soundbites dominate the conversation, rather than a root cause analysis of terrorism (start with Louise Richardson's book, What Terrorists Want). Someone please suggest W this book since he still clearly doesn't get what terrorism is about and lives in his little simplistic world of dualisms (good vs evil, freedom vs terrrorism). Do you think he's even aware that his philosophy is Manichaeist, which was condemned by the Church as heresy?


paul miller (not verified) | December 20, 2007 - 4:33pm

How about a little holiday cheer?

"THE PRESIDENT" (*) ": Good morning. I hope you all enjoyed the holiday reception at the White House as much as Laura and I enjoyed it. We took an inventory of the silverware, and this year only a few pieces were missing -- so, like, if you see Gregory, tell him to bring them back. (Laughter.)"

There is absolutely nothing better in this world than our President cracking us up with a little humor at the expense of "Stretch". Time for Stretch to get back on board and get jiggy (again) with Karl Rove. YESSSSSSSIIIIIRRRRREEEEE!

* aka Mr. Bean, (*)my insert