Tom Englehardt at TomDispatch.com writes:
The surge was always, in a sense, a gamble for time, a pacification program directed at the "home front" in the President's Global War on Terror as well as at Iraq itself. And if this is what you mean by "success" in Iraq, Bush has indeed succeeded admirably. As in the Vietnam era, when President Richard Nixon began "Vietnamizing" that war, a reduction of American casualties has had the effect of turning media attention elsewhere.
So another year has now passed in a country that we plunged into an unimaginable charnel-house state. Whether civilian dead between the invasion of 2003 and mid-2006 (before the worst year of civil-war level violence even hit) was in the range of 600,000 as a study in the British medical journal, The Lancet reported or 150,000 as a recent World Health Organization study suggests, whether two million or 2.5 million Iraqis have fled the country, whether 1.1 million or more than two million have been displaced internally, whether electricity blackouts and water shortages have marginally increased or decreased, whether the country's health-care system is beyond resuscitation or could still be revived, whether Iraqi oil production has nearly crept back to the low point of the Saddam Hussein-era or not, whether fields of opium poppies are, for the first time, spreading across the country's agricultural lands or still relatively localized, Iraq is a continuing disaster zone on a catastrophic scale hard to match in recent memory.
What Bush has done with his surge, however, is buy himself that year-plus of free time, while he negotiates with Iraq's inside-the-Green-Zone government to cement in place an endless American presence there.
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