Contrary to what the neocons would have us believe the success of the ‘surge’ in Iraq is a myth. The reason why some of the violence dropped off is not because US soldiers were able to eliminate the insurgents but because the US government were able to buy them off. And those they weren’t able to buy off they simply had killed by those that they were able to buy off.
The US was able to take full advantage of some of the internal squabbling between Sunni and Shia groups and militias. Elements of the Sunni insurgency that had been fighting against the US and their allies’ occupation were simply made an offer they couldn’t refuse and formed in to ‘Awakening Councils’ in the pay of the US government; and those that did refuse were killed off – by the ‘Awakening Councils’. Those that didn’t take up the offer were labelled ‘al Qaeda terrorists’ and treated accordingly. Now it looks like those ‘Awakening Council’ arrangements are coming apart. The old animosities are re-emerging and the possibility of open fighting once again being a distinct possibility all of which will demonstrate the extent to which the success of the ‘surge’ was a myth.
In Iraq the ‘al Qaeda’ label is merely a catchall for anyone who fights against the US occupation there. The propaganda value of the ‘al Qaeda’ label is still very powerful when it comes to perpetuating the myth of the ‘surge’ particularly, and the ‘Global War on Terrorism’ generally.
In Afghanistan the situation is so different than in Iraq that a ‘surge’ is not possible and even the commander in chief in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, concedes this. The simple fact is; the Afghani fighters know from history that a concerted and tenacious defence of their homeland will always see the invader off eventually. Nor are they open to bribes. Those that were able to be bought off were bought off years ago and are either now in the Karzai puppet government or are warlords with their own domains scattered throughout Afghanistan. In other words, there is no one left to buy off.
The Republican vice-presidential candidate’s call for repeating the ‘surge’ in Afghanistan demonstrates the extent of Sarah Palin’s inability to face reality even after seven years of failure in Afghanistan.
The British are waking up to the fact that the war in Afghanistan is unwinable are now tentatively calling for talks. It’s time the US government and the candidates for the presidency did the same.