31 January 2008

(Still) Recovering From Listening to W's Address on 'The State of the Union'

Among the especially delusional strains in W's oration the other evening was his interpretation of our current 'successes' in Iraq. He (along with his minions in the administration and the right-wing mouthpieces spread across the think tanks and various media outlets) want us to believe that the "surge" is working. I have posted multiple times on the various folks advancing that prepostrous claim (search on 'surge'). It turns out that I may have been mistaken all along because I have misconstrued the actual aim of W's surge policy.

My colleague Robb Westbrook called my attention to this recent Op-Ed from The Washington Post by historian Andrew Bacevich who is himself a West Point graduate. The essay provides a nice clarification of W's fantasy (the one welcomed with great applause the other evening by the Congressional Republicans). Bacevich remarks that the outcome of the BushCo surge in Iraq "compares unfavorably with the U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina." That, though, seems a mis-statement. For as Bacevich subsequently points out, the surge actually has been an amazing success:
In only one respect has the surge achieved undeniable success: It has ensured that U.S. troops won't be coming home anytime soon. This was one of the main points of the exercise in the first place. [ . . .] The "victory" gained in recent months all but guarantees that the United States will remain caught in the jaws of Iraq for the foreseeable future.
The surge strategy is on this view analogous to the Reagan-ite effort to generate enormous budget deficits, thereby crippling any future effort to implement government policies in nearly any domain. The surge has been aimed at tying the hands of future administrations. In that sense it won't really matter if (as seems very likely) the primary campaigns generate a pro-war presidential candidate from each party; even if an anti-war candidate were elected, whomever inherits W's fiasco won't be able to extricate us from the mess he has created.

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Anonymous artandpoliticsnow said...

Hi Jim Johnson
I enjoy your blog. It is refreshingly analytical compared to so many.
I was reading your comment on the Sekula photographs and came to this current entry. I will get back to Sekula but first I wanted to mention-
have you seen the article in Z magazine on the point of the whole exercize in Iraq being to prevent production of oil there ( I think that was how they put it). There are always layers and layers. Your comment on entanglement into the future is obviously the case. Why else is Cheney pushing for passage of further spying laws.
Susan Platt I will link you to my blog and now I am returning to Sekula entry to think about that some more.

31 January, 2008 16:39  
Anonymous Dawei from Beijing said...

Why don't left-leaning, pro-peace groups form lobbies, like AIPAC, for example, and work to influence congress into enacting more progressive policies. There are enough liberal billionaires out there to bankroll such projects. It seems to me that liberals refuse to play the game, but complain when they continually lose.

31 January, 2008 18:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we can all just start saying that the surge is working and the war in Iraq is won. You may not believe it - but the facts are hard to refute. If a Democrat is elected this November you can be sure, come January, all you and the rest of the left will be saying is that the war is won.

06 February, 2008 22:47  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...


I want some of what you're smokin' dude! If you think "the facts" about the surge suggest victory it must be pretty powerful stuff.

Let's think about "the facts". Even if, for the sake of argument, we grant that there is diminished violence in Iraq, and that "the surge" is the cause of that trajectory (and I don't really belileve "the facts" suggest either of those things), remember what the friggin' point of the exercise was in the first place. Remember? It was to improve the chances for Iraqi self-government. Ooooppps! As you may have noticed "the facts" suggest NO progress on that score. The Iraqi government cannot pee in its own pot. And they have the Turks bombing their territory in the north too. The place is a disaster and that largely is due to the idiocy of BushCo. Your Tax dolars at work.

So, if a Democrat wins in Novemeber, they may (and the probablity is low) start to withdraw troops. But that will not be because they can claim victory, but because they will want to stop throwing money and lives (American, Allies and Iraqi) away for nothing.

07 February, 2008 00:05  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

PS: The concluding sentence of the last post is not nearly harsh enough. It is not that we are throwing money and lives away for nothing. We are throwing them away for a bunch of lies peddled by Bush and his minions.

07 February, 2008 00:06  

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