Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Why Sen. Barack Obama says "the surge" didn't work ..

Despite protestations from Senator John McCain and others in the Bush administration who claim the reason for the reduced violence in Iraq is the so-called surge - the reported addition of 30,000 American troops in Iraq - Obama and many others, especially those living in Iraq, disagree.

The reason I say "reported" is because there is a question about the number of troops that were called back before an additional 30,000 soldiers were deployed or re-deployed or re-re-deployed to bring the number back to its original total.

At any rate, even if there actually were 30,000 additional troops sent to Iraq, at the time of the announced surge, Iraqis became completely fed up with all the violence and threats from Al-Qeda. So it was they who mustered the courage and clout to fight, deter and push Al-Qeda out of their villages.

A reporter on CNN's GPS today said the effect of more American troops was actually minimal. That the reduction of violence was won by Iraqis fired up with the need for self-determination because US forces had minimal impact against Al-Qeda guerrilla fighters. Iraqis had hoped for a more effective assistance and protection from US forces.

But in fact, it was not until US forces came to Iraq that Al-Qeda invaded the country, creating chaos, because Iraq's now deceased tyrannical dictator Saddam Hussein, would not allow them - or any theocratic groups or leaders - in "his" country because they would challenge him and he would not tolerate that.

The private army contracted by the Bush administration, Blackwater, has been blamed for creating more violence and killing more innocent citizens without any accountability (US military members committing crimes can be prosecuted).

Conservatively, more than two hundred thousand innocent Iraqis have been killed, according to independent international humanitarian organizations, since the US military crossed into Iraq more than five years ago.

The International Red Cross reports humanitarian crises in Iraq are as bad as they've continued to be over the past five years - access to sanitation, clean water and health care are all still desperately needed.

Mind you, Vice President Dick Cheney's former employer, Haliburton, has benefited from hundreds of billions of tax and borrowed US dollars worth of contracted work to rebuild the nation. Unfortunately, much of what they've built has had to be re-built or re-re-rebuilt because the construction has been destroyed by war there.

In summary, according to those who are close with Iraqis, they themselves were responsible for significantly cutting back the violence with only minor input from US military forces; more, that the presence of the US military only inspires Al-Qeda to continue to push their way back in - so they want the US to leave.

Edited to add: Of course the reason for the surge to begin with was to lessen violence in order for Iraq's diverse (and warring) leaders to pound out political solutions to curb the civil war and other centuries-long feuds. As of today, little process has been made.

Supporters of the surge proudly point out that "some" political agreement has been made. But at what cost? There is a long, long way to go to put Iraq in the condition the Bush administration would like to see. Iraqi leaders no longer care what Bush wants. They want the US to leave.

As stated by so many Iraqis who survived the massive destruction of their nation - who have no home (millions have been displaced), no job (Haliburton shipped in cheap labor from Indonesia to rebuild the country), witnessed their history destroyed - irreplaceable artifacts decimated and stolen, their family and neighbors slaughtered, the list goes on: "This is liberation?"

Perhaps just as significantly, Iraqi leadership is close with Iran, providing an even greater impetus to ask the US military to leave - going as far as to ask the Americans for a specific plan and "timeline" (or whatever name it's called by whoever uses the term) to leave the nation.

On the other hand, those who are close with McCain, the US military and Bush administration insist that the US military was primarily responsible for the de-escalation of violence created by Al-Qeda and civil war in the nation.

In one sense, this is a story not only about Iraq and the Bush administration, it's about whom you believe to tell you the truth. If you think McCain is telling the truth, he's your guy. If you believe Obama has a better grasp of what really happened and is happening now, he's your man.

One way to discover all points of view and glean substantiated facts about these issues is to read newspapers from other nations (find them here or here) as well as international coverage -- what little there is -- in US news sources. There is also a plethora of books that are well documented surrounding the US action in Iraq.

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