Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Change Of Opinion?

The NY Times has a way of featuring op-ed pieces that are critically scathing towards the administration's policies on Iraq. But now, if you read this piece, it seems there's more optimism about the surge.

No time to comment right now, but do give this a read.


This report seems to lend some support to the thoughts expressed in the NYT piece.

Granted, a lower death toll does not necessarily indicate success. It could be that there is somewhat of a lull, because many of the insurgents are laying low due to the increased presence. It could be that there is a new strategy by the terrorists that has yet to be fully implemented. But regardless of the reasons behind it, it is lower. And for that, we can be thankful.


Greg said...

Oh, for once I remember blogger Mark's (from S-F) lesson that the NYT publishes opinions it does not necessarily agree with from outside contributors. I note that this piece is from Kenneth Pollack and Michael Hanlon - not NYT writers.

Now I'll read the article.....

Greg said...

Having read the article, I think it's significant that this opinion comes from the Brookings, which is hardly a bastion of neoconservatism. They aren't biased in favor of the administration. They aren't pro-war propaganda peddlers.

It's nice to see the mention of northern Iraq, whose success has nothing to do with the surge. And it's also encouraging to see success in the sunni areas. I like that the Pentagon saw a problem and tailored an appropriate change in strategy to address it.

Big problem though: it's too late. Almost regardless of who wins in '08, and regardless of conditions on the ground in Iraq, troops will begin leaving just as soon as the new White House tenant moves in. It doesn't matter if the surge is working fantastically, and the lawmakers agree on an oil bill, and the Iraqi security forces are starting to succeed, and infrastructure projects aren't bombed - none of it matters anymore. Those who will be making the decisions in '08 are going to pull troops out, consequences be damned.

Bush needed this strategy before he went in. And failing that, he needed to realize Rumsfeld was screwing up in 2003/04. And so on. I'm willing to give him another chance in Iraq, but almost no one else is. So, it's too late.

Anonymous said...

The propaganda machine is at it again...
Next september a report is to be published that will establish the results of the surge. So, it's important to prepare the public and tell it everything's not bad, the surge strategy is starting to pay and blablala.

Part one: The situation isn't that bad on the ground (only 70 people killed when a truck exploded yesterday), there are still living people in Iraq, 80% of the Iraqis still in the country are deprived of normal sanitary conditions (it could be 90%, see, it's not that bad) etc.

Part two: The 8 months low casualties among American soldiers. (Don't even mention the Irakis, what the f...! who cares?) What a great achievement! Only 78 in July, it was 43 July last year.
For 3 years Friedman of the New York Times (he was in favour of the war) used to regularly write: "The next 6 months will be crucial." Now, he has stopped, feeling how ridiculous it has become. But his favorite line wasn't lost to eveybody. Now, it's being used again in the prospect of the Sept. report.
When the Iraqi study group was published last November (or was it October?) with a set of proposals, the Decider thought it was the best thing to do to ignore all these proposals and do the exact opposite. Hey, isn't he the Commander in chief? He knows better than the bi-partisan group.

I can feel the love Americans are enjoying in Iraq and all surrounding countries and American allies such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia etc.
In the end Iraq will be a friend of America, a vibrant example of western democracy and the envy of its neighburgs.

Deam on Greg, dream on...


Greg said...

Flocon: try reading what a wrote: too little, too late. I ain't dreamin, though you seem to be. I can picture you all excited at the thought of America's image declining to rock bottom.

And you need to get a clue about Brooking's. They aren't Bush-bots. God forbid someone should write something about Iraq that isn't 100% doom and gloom - they can't possibly be telling the truth, right?. They are to the left of center over there at The Brookings, so your comment about the "propaganda machine" rings hollow.

But like I said, it doesn't matter how much good news comes out of Iraq. We're leaving soon, there will be massive slaugher, and you'll have new things to blame America for. Yipee!

Anonymous said...

Greg: "God forbid someone should write something about Iraq that isn't 100% doom and gloom"

"It doesn't matter how much good news comes out of Iraq."

It all depends on what is "good news".

But seriously, even if you can find a piece of "good news" in an ocean of catastrophy, what difference does it make?
A patient is suffering from terminal cancer but, hey, there's good news, he has recovered from his last fit of hick up...


Anonymous said...

About this 8 months lowest toll in Iraq, I knew it rang a bell...

Back in March 2006, I already heard things were improving since it was the lowest toll in 25 months (yes, 25 months) in Iraq (31 dead) since February 2003 with 20 casualties.
See here: http://www.icasualties.org/oif/

Also, in March 2006, another evidence that things were starting to get better was that there had been a steady decrease of casualties for the past 5 months:
10-05: 96
11-05: 84
12-05: 68
01-06: 62
02-05: 55
03-05: 31
Now, was'nt it getting better? That was a real piece of good news!

Alas, April 06 saw the death of 76 American soldiers. Since then 1.332 American soldiers have died in Iraq, including 575 since the surge started.

This much heralded lowest toll in Iraq in 8 months (80...) could well be reduced to a 3 months period if we learn in the coming days that 2 or 3 soldiers have died from injuries suffered in July.
Now, no surprise 80 dead appears to be "good news" since the last three months have been the bloodiest for American soldiers since the beginning of the war, 4 and a half year ago.
04-07: 104
05-07: 126
06-07: 101
07-08: 80 (37 more than July last year, talk of thing getting better).
And to top it all, the 6 Sunni Ministers have left the Maliki Govt yesterday. On the political front also, it's getting better..

The propaganda machine is having another try, that's all, and we've been here before...