Let us at least try to be clear on the basic issues:
Next Tuesday –on 9.11, as it happens– General Patraeous will deliver his report on The Surge to Congress.
In January last Mr Bush undertook –under pressure of a “lost” election, and heightened unpopularity of the war– to send a “surge” of some 25,000 more troops, mostly to Baghdad, with some 4000 going to Anbar province. It was his “last chance”.
The purpose was to pacify both places and make them sufficiently secure –particularly Baghdad– so as to allow the Maliki Iraq Government to take control, to lead, to resolve the relevant Shia-Sunni-Kurd differences.
For the surge to be declared a success two things had to happen:
1. The US troops had to secure the area;
2. Leader Maliki and his government to establish effective control.
Various “benchmarks” were established back in January so when it came to assessing the success of the operation, there could be agreement on whether they had been met or not.
Next week, the nation will have the opportunity –and the responsibility–of making up its mind on this most important and contentious question. I suggest that it be approached as one might an important family decision, with all sides being heard.
Was The Surge a success?
Remember how we set it up. Did the troops secure the designated areas? Did Leader Maliki lead and establish control and make the compromises necessary for effective government?
We are down to the wire; those are now the essential questions.
WATCH THIS SPACE.
(Postscript: Those of you who have followed my blog will know that I am and have been strongly opposed to the war. In my opinion our country did the wrong thing in so many respects, and consequently we now have a huge mess on our hands. We have to accept that fact. My concern now is TO DO THE RIGHT THING; the problem is to define exactly what the Right Thing is –a complicated issue to say the least.
I live near a “dangerous corner”. Over the years many careless, macho, and/or inebriated drivers have crashed into the corner house across the way, often crashing through the front door, and lodging their cars in the doorway, and doing considerable structural damage. Occasionally the impact has been so severe that part of the house was in danger of collapsing: in those cases it was vital to prop it up and stabilize it before the car could be safely extracted.
How best to prop up the house of Iraq that we crashed into? And if it was your kid who crashed into the house, what is your responsibility?)