FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Talking Surge

‘Everyone in town is talking “surge” now’, a Pentagon adviser explained to NPR listeners the other day, and you could almost feel the country buckle up its mind for another bloody disaster ahead. One big “final” push to defeat the popular resistance of the Iraqi people. Just to see if we can do it, before we leave. ‘It probably won’t work, but it’s worth a try.’

For an alternative to this patent nonsense, we are told to look to the deliberations of the Iraq Study Group, which only offer proof that the US has no intention of either leaving Iraq or letting Iraqi oil slip out of its grasp. In addition to an indefinite military presence, the ISG recommends a number of specific steps to tighten controls over Iraqi petroleum and economic policy in favor of corporate oil. It’s simply an elite debate about how best to achieve the common objective, which has nothing to do with the expressed goal of the American people, i.e. to get the hell out of there.

Yet, once the inter-generational/bi-partisan drama of the ISG moment was past and the “intensive” White House policy review was complete, just about any “solution” could be blown down the throat of an election-satisfied public, at least for a while. Provided, that is, the Democratic Party didn’t spoil the scene by speaking any awkward truths, which it hasn’t since it won the elections.

The weather in Iraq is cool now, and we can “accelerate” 20,000 partially trained recruits into on-the-job training under fire while we “extend” the agony of 20,000 more soldiers who have earned their trip home. It’s the perfect time for “surge”. Naturally, the Democrats installed “surge” proponents in the Congressional leadership, ensuring that no one could be blamed later for the likely failure of this “face-saving” operation.

This is not the first time the US has adopted a policy of failure in Iraq. The Salvador Option, reported out of the Pentagon two years ago, involves much more than a network of paramilitary death squads attacking the popular insurgency. It is also a known recipe for extremely bloody civil war, as demonstrated in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras, to name a few.

When the Salvador Option is invoked, it is an admission that the “battle for hearts and minds” is lost. Once it is triggered, the victim nation will be subjected to an indefinite reign of terror until it “comes to its senses” and accepts “international standards”.

Bishops may be assassinated while saying Mass. Nuns may be raped, tortured, murdered, and mutilated. Native Indians may be murdered by the tens of thousands. Anything goes. Meanwhile, the diplomatic, economic, and intelligence meddling will continue unabated, and the American public will eat a parade of stories about new “peace plans” and “early exit” strategies. That is the history of the Salvador Option.

It is a policy of winning while losing. It is reminiscent in a general way of Nixon’s “plan to end the war”, which merely led to another “surge” for victory involving the apocalyptic carpet-bombing of Cambodia and Vietnam. Five years after America voted for his “secret” plan, Nixon resigned in disgrace. But the US military was still in Vietnam, “training its replacements”.

The sober lesson to be drawn is that, in the eyes of US policy makers, any amount of pointless suffering and death is preferable to an admission of defeat. Even the symbolic defeat involved in bringing the troops home “before their mission is complete” is deemed unacceptable, as a political risk, as a return on investment, and as a matter of imperial strategy, especially at this “moment of perceived weakness”.

The deaths of 650,000 Iraqis and the destruction of their country have not perceptibly altered the thinking in Washington. More chaos is on the way, in part because we sustain our deterrent power by proving that we are willing to fail until we win. We are even willing to earn the universal hatred of the population because, the confident strategist would assure us, ‘by the time they get fed up with killing each other, they’ll be begging us to settle their disputes.’

Is US influence waning in the Middle East? According to the rules of the previous state of affairs, it certainly is. In the history of US interventions and occupations, however, influence assumes a variety of forms. When the levers of good will and popular propaganda have been exhausted, the battle for influence has just begun.

JAMES BROOKS serves as webmaster for Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel. He can be contacted at jamiedb@wildblue.net.

 

 

More articles by:
August 16, 2018
Binoy Kampmark
Boris Johnson and the Exploding Burka
Eric Toussaint
Nicaragua: The Evolution of the Government of President Daniel Ortega Since 2007 
Adolf Alzuphar
Days of Sagebrush, Nights of Jasmine in LA
Robert J. Burrowes
A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival
August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
Dean Baker
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker on Medicare-for-All
Weekend Edition
August 10, 2018
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Militarizing Space: Starship Troopers, Same As It Ever Was
Andrew Levine
No Attack on Iran, Yet
Melvin Goodman
The CIA’s Double Standard Revisited
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament
Aidan O'Brien
In Italy, There are 12,000 American Soldiers and 500,000 African Refugees: Connect the Dots 
Robert Fantina
Pity the Democrats and Republicans
Ishmael Reed
Am I More Nordic Than Members of the Alt Right?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail