Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Fragile and reversible

Those were the words we heard from Petraeus and Crocker yesterday, when speaking of "progress" in Iraq.

Juan Cole gives Gen. Petraeus some props today while outlining the utter failure of the Maliki government.
Gen. Petraeus is clearly convinced that Iraq needs US troops to shore up the government and security. He has done the most responsible job yet seen by an American official in Iraq in trying to end the carnage. He has made bazaars no drive zones to stop the car bombings. He has surrounded city districts with blast walls to keep out insurgents. He has reached out to the Sunnis (though alas the Shiite government has not). He has done what he could, but it hasn't been enough. There really is little sign of political reconciliation.

Al-Maliki started out with a national unity government. He had Sunnis in his cabinet. He had Sadrists in his cabinet. Islamic Virtue Party. Iraqi National List. All gone. His government is more fractured and less representative than before the surge began!

Cole then shares this sobering fact:

So I found myself wondering what would be comparable to this in the US? I took a quick look at population estimates for Iraq and the United States. Then I did the quick calculation.

We have tut-tutted about nastiness in political campaigning. Well....

What if there were 3,266 deaths in political violence in the United States last month?

That is what life in Iraq is like these days.

Oh, and we don't have a tenth of our population living as refugees at the moment.

--the BB


Grandmère Mimi said...

What if there were 3,266 deaths in political violence in the United States last month?

Makes it real, don't it, Byzigenous? I wonder how much the American military presence keeps the Iraqis from doing the work themselves. I don't know, of course, but the, "Give us another year," plea from the military commander begins to ring hollow after a while. Shades of the unmentionable other war. I saw it called Iraqnam the other day.

Paul said...

Alas, Grandmère, visualizing a number does not make it real enough for us here in the States. Would that it could. Then we might see some change.

I think it is clear that our continuing presence in Iraq leaves them free to dilly, dally, and stall on issues of hard political negotiation. The endless Friedman Units are not getting us anywhere. Time to pull the plug.

What a mess we have made.