Bush’s Surge Little More Than A Bumper Sticker, News At Eleven

Reconciliation.  That was the ultimate goal of the military “surge” seeked to achieve when first implemented earlier this year.  The rationale was simply that what kept Iraqis from reconciling within the halls of parliament was the bloodletting in the streets, and so an increase in US troop strength was intended to reduce this civil war violence in order to allow Iraqi politicians breathing room to engineer reconciliation.

If only things were that simple.

In a surprising bit of non news, it would turn out that such logic failed to follow through.  The violence, as luck would have it, was not the only impediment to political reconciliation on a national scale.  Nor, it should be noted, was military progress necessarily conducive to reconciliation on a local level either, since it would seem that it was only a factor in the Anbar Awakening.  Another, less positive factor of course would be the ethnic cleansing that also takes place.

Meanwhile, the military is strained and its morale is reduced as a result of the fact that the “surge” actually lacks attainable military goals, something I have argued since its inception.

In any case, the strategy would be excusable if it did manage to work, but that is not likely to happen.  The problems in the Iraqi government go much further than merely the violence that occurs in the streets.  As reported here countless times before, the very idea of reconciliation is greatly hampered by the fact that most players in the game are not in it for reconciliation, but instead for power.  The Shia seem particularly prone towards this goal.

As a result, Iraqi leaders are of the mind that reconciliation in the current status of the Iraqi government is no longer attainable.

What I find particularly interesting, though, is the opinion that Iraqi leaders have towards the very idea of reconciliation.  While for the Bush administration reconciliation is an ultimate goal, government officials in Iraq beg to differ:

“I don’t think there is something called reconciliation, and there will be no reconciliation as such,” said Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, a Kurd. “To me, it is a very inaccurate term. This is a struggle about power.”

Humam Hamoudi, a prominent Shiite cleric and parliament member, said any future reconciliation would emerge naturally from an efficient, fair government, not through short-term political engineering among Sunnis and Shiites.

“Reconciliation should be a result and not a goal by itself,” he said. “You should create the atmosphere for correct relationships, and not wave slogans that ‘I want to reconcile with you.’ “

The specific use of the word “slogan” shows a kind of insight into Bush’s style of… everything… that would be funny if it weren’t so thoroughly close to the catastrophic truth.  Bush employed campaigning by slogan to a degree of high art, but once in the White House, and following his reelection, he didn’t stop with the sloganeering.  What we have experienced for the past six and a half years has been an executive who governs by slogan, and little else.

During an eight years in which nothing much else happens, this would be bad, but not tragically dangerous.  The world in which we live, though, has made it possible for Bush to not only shake the very foundation of our most cherished constitutional principles, but also export his govern by bumper sticker ideology to war torn Iraq.

Meanwhile, the President at every turn possible peddles his policies as being successful, meanwhile, those who are having to work under the gun to make those policies work are telling us that what he believes is an ultimate goal is little more than another slogan, an aftermath to everything this administration isn’t even talking about.

Except the oil, of course.  We can’t forget that Iraqi Oil, can we?

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