Posts Tagged ‘surge’

Five Questions For The Afghan Surge

February 25, 2010

By Juan Cole, ZNet, Feb 24, 2010

Source: Juancole.com

Juan Cole’s ZSpace Page

Gen. David Petraeus, a straight shooter, admitted on Meet the Press Sunday that the Afghanistan War will take years and incur high casualties. His implicit defense of President Obama from Dick Cheney on the issues of torture and closing Guantanamo will make bigger headlines, but sooner or later the American public will notice the admission. The country is now evenly divided between those who think the US can and should restore a modicum of stability before getting out, and those who want a quick withdrawal. The Marjah Campaign, the centerpiece of the new counter-insurgency strategy, is over a week old, and some assessment of this new, visible push by the US military in violent Helmand Province is in order.

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The Propaganda Success of the ‘Surge’

December 10, 2009

By William Blum, Consortiumnews.com, Dec 10, 2009

Editor’s Note: It is an overpowering consensus in Washington that the relative decline in Iraqi violence must be attributed to President George W. Bush’s “courageous” decision in 2007 to “surge” U.S. troop levels, a lesson that now must be repeated in Afghanistan.

This conventional wisdom has been pushed especially hard by the influential neoconservatives and the Republicans, but also has been accepted by many liberals and Democrats fearful of being viewed as out of step or not fully behind “the troops.”

However, as author William Blum at killinghope.org notes in this guest essay, there is another side to the story:

They don’t always use the word “surge,” but that’s what they mean.

Our admirable leaders and our mainstream media that love to interview them would like us to believe that escalation of the war in Afghanistan is in effect a “surge,” like the one in Iraq which, they believe, has proven so successful.

But the reality of the surge in Iraq was nothing like its promotional campaign.

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Secret killing program is key in Iraq, Woodward says

September 10, 2008

RINF.COM, Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

The dramatic drop in violence in Iraq is due in large part to a secret program the U.S. military has used to kill terrorists, according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward.

The program — which Woodward compares to the World War II era Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb — must remain secret for now or it would “get people killed,” Woodward said Monday on CNN’s Larry King Live.

“It is a wonderful example of American ingenuity solving a problem in war, as we often have,” Woodward said.

In “The War Within: Secret White House History 2006-2008,” Woodward disclosed the existence of secret operational capabilities developed by the military to locate, target and kill leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent leaders.

National security adviser Stephen Hadley, in a written statement reacting to Woodward’s book, acknowledged the new strategy. Yet he disputed Woodward’s conclusion that the “surge” of 30,000 U.S. troops into Iraq was not the primary reason for the decline in violent attacks.

“It was the surge that provided more resources and a security context to support newly developed techniques and operations,” Hadley wrote.

Woodward, associate editor of the Washington Post, wrote that along with the surge and the new covert tactics, two other factors helped reduce the violence.

One was the decision of militant cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to order a cease-fire by his Mehdi Army. The other was the “Anbar Awakening” movement that saw Sunni tribes aligning with U.S. troops to battle al Qaeda in Iraq.

Woodward told Larry King that while there is a debate over how much credit the new secret operations should get for the drop in violence, he concluded it “accounts for a good portion.”

“I would somewhat compare it to the Manhattan Project in World War II,” he said “It’s a ski slope right down in a matter of months, cutting the violence in half. This isn’t going to happen with the bunch of joint security stations or the surge.”

The top secret operations, he said, will “some day in history … be described to people’s amazement.”

While he would not reveal the details, Woodward said the terrorists who have been targeted were already aware of the capabilities.

“The enemy has a heads up because they’ve been getting wiped out and a lot of them have been killed,” he said. “It’s not news to them.

“If you were a member of al Qaeda or the resistance or some extremist militia, you would be wise to get your rear end out of town,” Woodward said. “It is very dangerous.”

CNN


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