Looking atÂ Margaret and Jason’s close monitoring of the continued bloodshed in Iraq– something like 300 IraqisÂ dead in bombings since last Monday — it’s becoming clear that nothing short of a nuclear bomb dropped on the Green Zone will get administration officials and their supporters in the Washington military establishment to acknowledge that something is really wrong in Baghdad.
There is obviously an agenda , and that agenda is to let the Iraqis have their holiday over our supposed departure on June 30. As I have written, and as Erik Leaver and Daniel Atzmon suggest today, there are a lot of smoke and mirrors engaged here and no one really knows how many U.S troops and private contractors will remain in trouble spots like Baghdad and Mosul after the end of the month.
But this is just one thread of the agenda. The integrity of the Surge Narrative is vital, and any sense that the stability gained in the last year is beginning to dissolve will put a lot of assumptions about the so-called “population-centric” Petraeus Doctrine (“clear, hold and build”) into serious question. That is probably why speakers at the big Center for A New American Security confab were pretty adamant that the recent violence is the mark of al Qaeda “remnants,” and definitely not a reanimated Sunni insurgency. No surprise that retired Gen. Jack Keane, known as the “godfather of the surge” for his work in writing the “plan for success” with Frederick Kagan at AEI and the “new” counterinsurgency manual with Petraeus in 2006, was on hand to suggest we don’t “overreact” to the recent bombings in Iraq.
“The security situation in Iraq is truly a good one,” Keane asserted from the dais of the Willard Continental Hotel ballroom on June 11, a day after a car bomb ripped through a market, killing 30 people in Nasiriyah. Sure there were spates of violence, but “that doesn’t justify the troop presence we have.”
Maybe not. A lot of us don’t think a six-year occupation was justified in the first place. But that seems to be beside the point right now. People like Keane and the aforementioned administration officials are bent on playing down the heartbreaking,Â relentless fragility of a people we deemed necessary to liberate and manipulate to our own geopolitical ends. But yet everyday the violence gets worse and the civil and political situation remains well, a basket case. Rather than suggest, perhaps, the Surge fell short of its exalted goals and gloried, storied distinctions, they will ignore what is right in front of their faces. Political expediency still reigns. If anyone thinks it will be any different for the people of Afghanistan (our other war) a year from now, I have a market to sell them in Adhamiyah.