- Peace Garden: Surge Success?

Surge Success?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Iraq: Did the Surge Work?
"My thesis," wrote (Juan) Cole, "would be that the U.S. inadvertently allowed the chasing of hundreds of thousands of Sunni Arabs out of Baghdad (and many of them had to go all the way to Syria for refuge). Rates of violence declined once the ethnic cleansing was far advanced, just because there were fewer mixed neighborhoods."
Cole's thesis has received important confirmation. According to Bob Woodward, in his new book The War Within (Simon & Schuster, 2008), the biggest factor behind the reduced violence in Iraq was "very possibly" not the Surge, but a resort to Death Squads. A "Top Secret" memo viewed by Woodward indicates that the Sunnis were systematically targeted and assassinated. What took place was reminiscent of the infamous Phoenix Program instituted by the U.S. in Vietnam. It was a strategy of summary executions.
Yet another confirmation appeared in a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of California. Based on an examination of satellite photos across Baghdad, the study observed that Sunni neighborhoods, which showed a dramatic decrease of nighttime light in Sunni neighborhoods, had been abandoned by their inhabitants. The surge, the study concluded, "has had no observable effect." The study attributed the tremendous decline in Baghdad's Sunni population to relocations and ethnic cleansing.
Tom Hayden raises some disturbing questions. "Why were the targets killed instead of being detained? How many targeted individuals were killed or made to disappear? . . . How are the operations consistent with US constitutional law and international human rights standards?" Why has thee been no congressional investigation?
And so many praise the Surge and hope to take the same to Afghanistan. Death Squads - our nation has know and supported them in the past (think Central America). Let's hope the next President won't.

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