Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obama was wrong about the surge?

One thing that's really annoying me about the coverage of the presidential election is the notion that Obama was wrong when he said, last year, that the surge of new troops into Iraq was "doomed to failure." Because there has been a reduction in violence in Iraq, some pundits have concluded the the surge worked.

But it really was the failure that Obama predicted. 1,000 more US troops died since the surge began. Were their lives really worth a "reduction in violence" given that we could have pulled our troops out long before Bush decided to send more of them into his war of choice? We've also spent billions more. Given what we have to pay now to bail out Wall Street, were the billions we spent to fund the surge in Iraq really worth the "reduction in violence?"

Here's where the rubber really meets the road: if the Surge was a success and Obama was wrong, then why in the Hell are we still in Iraq? The fact of our continued occupation is proof enough that the surge failed. The point was to end the war and bring our troops home. Didn't happen. Surge failed. Deal with it.

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At 11:21 AM , Blogger Jon E. said...

Huh. I thought the stated reason for the surge was to calm the violence enough to allow Iraqi civil authorities some breathing room to build up a political process and the military and police necessary to protect that process.

That stuff does seem to be happening, though I have no idea whether the surge led to it. (A lot of people on the ground are saying that the surge at best was one of a number of causes.)

None of which changes for me the more fundamental issue that this war didn't need to happen and that many if not most of the lives lost in it--Iraqi and American--are on Bush & co's hands. It doesn't change the fact that our opportunity costs for Bush's foreign wars and domestic indifference to economic fundamentals have cost the economy somewhere around $2 trillion dollars, which would have been enough to start fixing so many problems (of education, of home ownership, of health care, of infrastructure, of energy policy) that America will have to cope with for at least a generation.


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