“You will recall that General Petraeaus was the architect of the surge in Iraq which crushed the insurgency there…”
That was how CNN’s Christiane Amanpour closed off her interview with General David Petraeus yesterday.
Mythology is a fascinating subject. The ancient Greeks chose their gods in their likeness, while the Egyptians and others often went another way – sometimes placing animal heads on human bodies. United States Middle East mythology of current times is a mix of in-our-likeness gods – Petraeus, Jessica Lynch, Super Sniper Kris Kyle are good examples – yet the Egyptian composite element is there also with feet of clay replacing the animal heads.
That CNN and Amanpour should be giving such credibility to Surge Mythology is very disappointing – it should remain in the domain of Drudge, Fox and Breitbart.
The surge was close to the last of many cons perpetrated on the American public during that terrible time. 20,000 extra troops went to Iraq in 2007 – in a process lauded as the “New Way Forward” and driven by the Republican rout in the 2006 mid-term elections.
“Çrushed the insurgency” – really Christiane? The key point of the surge strategy – still little publicised and certainly not whispered back then – was the decision to pay Sunni insurgents not to fight. This strategy worked well enough for the Bush team to beat a hasty retreat and create the myth of Petraeus. And then those Sunni insurgents became ISIS when the stipend, like the oil, stopped flowing.
If any journalist wants to say the surge worked and does not mention the facts in the previous paragraph, he or she is disgracing the profession. And it should be recited every time the idiot Trump blames Obama for creating ISIS. (Hillary?)
It’s been a while, here is a little primer of the Iraq War:
* At a meeting with key Iraqi “exiles” several months before the invasion, with the to-be-eventually-disgraced Ahmed Chalabi quite prominent, George Bush made it clear he did not know the difference between Sunni and Shia. “Doh!”- Homer Simpson, eat your heart out, and this man then sent over 4,000 Americans to their death.
* Nerds like Wolfowitz and his neocon clan, who promised a braying multitude with welcoming garlands, should have read a little history especially the strategy of Egyptian President Gamal Nasser who, when faced with an imminent British invasion over the Suez crisis, developed an elaborate plan to melt into the streets and keep fighting in exactly the mode adopted by the Baath party loyalists in Iraq.
* Dick Cheney will still tell you Saddam was behind 911 – his favourite myth.
* When things were going really badly, the myth of the unfortunate Jessica Lynch was created to calm a public which simply must have heroes.
(Abridged – there are almost as many bullet points as bullets expended in Iraq.)
Bush is now obviously and understandably a tad (more) loopy. It must be a heavy weight – judging by the totally inappropriate little dance he bizarrely brought out at a recent memorial service and his new found passion for painting self-portraits in the bathroom.
Rumsfeld has retreated to a role as an apps manufacturer.
And Cheney is still Cheney.
Bruce Stinson lives in Hong Kong.