The Surge in Iraq - "Battle of the Bulge"
by Alan J Simpson
Washington, DC Sept. 12th, 2007 -- The last two days we have seen the Capitol Hill Circus in all it's made for television glory, and the media have debated endlessly who came out on top, the Democrats or the Republicans. Little effort was made by TV news producers to look at the plight of the civilian population of Iraq, the troops, or the long term damage being done to the future strength and capabilities of the US Military.
Of course the "Surge" will have military gains in the first few days, or weeks faced with little organized opposition. A good comparison is to look at the Battle of the Bulge in the Second World War. The desperate bid by the Nazi leadership to grasp at straws and a possible short term local victory. It worked. The US was completely surprised, with another major Intelligence Failure that in hindsight was so obvious. The glorious Third Reich reigned supreme and Generals proudly reported back that the magnificent Panzers were crushing the Americans as they overran their positions. Weeks later they were all either captured or running back to the Fatherland.
The point here is that shortly after it's launch the Generals could have testified that the Ardennes Campaign was a complete success and despite some long term political shortcomings the military goals had been achieved. Of course there was no Congress to report to and Adolf Hitler was completely delusional about his role as Commander in Chief. (I did take a second look to make sure I used Adolf Hitler there and not the other name I was thinking!)
The fact is that Congress has only the power to irritate this failed President in his last months in office. The American Public voted enough Republicans back in November to make a change of policy impossible. The Democrats do not have a mandate to stop the war. They have a half hearted demonstration of irritation from a public more interested in Britney Spears efforts at lip synching than they are about the long term scenario in Iraq. Had the American people wanted an end to the war they would have voted out all Republicans and replaced them with enough Democrats to challenge President Bush. They didn't and Bush knows it. You have a Lame Duck President and a half hearted Congress. Bush wins with that hand!
The current quality of US forces is the result of many years building up an experienced, dedicated peace time army. These troops are quitting in droves, the smart ones anyway, and are being replaced with lower quality recruits, attracted by huge cash incentives and rammed through training into the conflict. They will try their best, but without the experience and knowledge of the NCO,s who are quitting will start to find their mission more and more difficult, if not impossible. These experienced corporals and sergeants are never mentioned in Congressional Hearings. They are the backbone of this and every other army. Generals are politicians in uniform, and often bend with the political wind, especially the hot foul wind that comes from Cheney and his mob.
General Petraeus should not be attacked by the civilian and draft dodging politicians of Washington. He already has to salute the two biggest draft dodgers, Cheney and Bush, and on his way up another by the name of Clinton. He knows the results of other Generals speaking out, and the vindictive reprisals by Cheney, Bush and in the past Rumsfeld.
It's too late now to stop the war, and if the American people really wanted the war stopped they should have considered that before they voted Bush back for a second term, and replaced every Republican and Democratic war monger at the last election. They did not, and the blame should not to be shifted to General Petraeus for their lack of foresight and commitment.