Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for May 20th, 2007

So How’s That “Surge” Working, Shrub?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 20, 2007

Answer:  It’s not

The “troop surge” by American soldiers in Iraq is not working, one of Britain’s senior military officials in Baghdad has said.

In a pessimistic assessment of the strategy designed to pull Iraq back from all-out civil war, Alastair Campbell, the outgoing defence attaché at the British Embassy in Baghdad, claimed that extra US forces were not achieving the desired drop in violence.

Mr Campbell, whose remarks may cause embarrassment to Downing Street and anger in Washington, said that the casualty figures for April – in which 1,500 civilians are believed to have been killed – provided no “encouraging” evidence.

Speaking on the record last week to a public audience at Chatham House, the London-based foreign-policy research institute, he said: “The evidence does not suggest that the surge is actually working, if reduction in casualties is a criterion. The figures in April were not encouraging.”

In unusually candid comments, Mr Campbell also disclosed that American commanders had decided that the criteria for the “success” of the troop surge would be nothing more than a reduction in violence to the level prior to last year’s al-Qaeda bombing of the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, which destroyed its golden dome.

The destruction of the shrine, one of the most important Shia sites in the world, led to a dramatic escalation in sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia factions, peaking at 3,500 deaths in September last year. Casualty figures had been running at 800 a month before that, a level that few would regard as anything approaching peace.

While the United States military has made little secret of its view that the bloodshed in Iraq can now only be contained, rather than stamped out altogether, the suggestion that 800 murders a month in the country would be a measure of success is an indication of how far the coalition has been forced to reign in its expectations.

Of course, he can say this now because he’s the outgoing defence attaché in Baghdad.  The people still there are still repeating the Bush/Blair party line that Everything Is Going Just Fine.  (Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, Blair’s replacement as Prime Minister, has already let Bush know that he’s not going to be keeping British troops in Iraq for much longer.)

Don’t expect to see this on the evening news tonight.  Or anytime this week.

(By the way: Somebody needs to tell the Torygraph’s reporter that it should be “rein in” (as you would a horse), not “reign in”.)

Posted in abuse of power, Bush, Iraq war, madness of King George | 4 Comments »

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