Which brings us to the “Surge,” acclaimed by the Bush/McCain neo-con fringe as a winning strategy responsible for the reduced American casualties over the last year of enhanced deployment. According to these loyalists and their media chorus of talk host fascists, the timely introduction of some 30,000 more troops saved Iraq at large, and Baghdad in particular, from sectarian anarchy. Gen. Patreus is a genius, street life is returning and the government is ready to run itself for a change.
Unfortunately, an examination of the events leading to the current lull in fighting reveals other authors and influences behind the changes.
The much lauded “Sunni awakening” in Anbar province had nothing to do with the Surge, having been mongered by several tribal Sheiks in the winter of ’06 at the urging of the neighboring Saudis. The Saudis feared that the influx of teenage Jihadis would lead to Al Queda attacks on “the Kingdom.” They offered support and suggested that the local Sunnis take big bucks and arms from the Americans for turning on the foreign fighters hidden among them. With the example of Fallujah, (reduced to rubble by U.S. forces in retaliation for the murder of four contract American gunmen), the sheiks saw the light and opted for U.S. alliances and protection from any forthcoming Shia persecution by national government troops. With arms and mucho American cash, the tribes have pacified their province and U.S. combat is rare these days.
In the Shiite south and the neighborhoods of Baghdad the Ayatollah al-Sistani counseled his secular leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, to stand down and concentrate on administering the areas he controlled without confronting the national police and army or attacking American patrols unless provoked. Violence diminished, al-Sadr concentrated on building his political base for upcoming elections, and the surging troops went largely unchallenged as they flooded Baghdad’s streets. Token attacks on our fortified “Green Zone” and roadside booby traps aside, our politicians and commanders are claiming limited victory, and crediting the Surge as a strategy.
Under the doctrine of “concommitant variation,” in inductive reasoning we may look back on the reduction in the intensity of the war and infer that various factors involved in the change may have been cause-and-effect related, but certainly no single influence alone could have created the result.
History is all true, just some parts of it are truer than others.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. "The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.