Monday, January 8, 2007

Iraq War: The Surge to nowhere

Patrick Cockburn, one of the Western journalists who has done consistently good reporting on the Iraq War, has Some advice for George Bush: a 'surge' in US troops in Iraq will not bring about peace The Independent 01/08/07.  He writes:

While the White House pretends that American defeat can be avoided in Iraq, real measures to end the fighting languish. The building blocks for peace should include the appointment of a peace envoy: probably a senior official from the Arab world trusted in the US and the Middle East and acting on behalf of the UN. He should start talks about calling an international conference at which all the players inside and outside Iraq can meet.

A central theme of the conference should be the total withdrawal of US and British forces from Iraq, leaving no bases behind. Any final agreement should be in the shape of an international treaty including guarantees for minorities such as the Iraqi Kurds and Sunni. Finally Iraq should be neutralised like Austria in Europe in the 1950s.

There is no chance of this happening under Mr Bush. The reversal of policy would be too great and the admission of failure too humiliating.

Instead he is responding to failure like a First World War general on the Western Front, sending another 20,000 to 30,000 surging over the top in the vain hope that they will finally make the vital breakthrough which will lead to victory.

Instead of bad metaphors from the Second World War we hear from the neocons, maybe we all would have done better to pay more attention to the experience of the First World War.

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