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Ear to the Ground

‘Surge’ Rhetoric Not Universal

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Posted on Aug 8, 2008
David McKiernan

Gen. David McKiernan (left) speaks to a group from the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry in Afghanistan.

Despite criticisms of the efficacy of the “surge” in Iraq, a U.S. commander in Afghanistan has dared to say that a planned “surge” in Afghanistan would in fact not help U.S. interests in the country. The commander did make sure not to completely deweaponize the Bush administration’s rhetoric, suggesting instead that a different type of surge is needed.


A troop “surge” is credited with stemming violence in Iraq, but could a similar strategy work in Afghanistan? A top U.S. military commander isn’t counting on it.

In 2007, as part of the surge strategy, President Bush sent roughly 30,000 additional troops to Iraq in an attempt to improve security.

That effort coincided with a drop in violence, and, now that the troops in Iraq are returning to pre-surge levels, the Army is identifying combat units that could go Afghanistan to fill the need for 10,000 additional troops, military officials said.

But a different type of surge is needed in Afghanistan, said Gen. David McKiernan, the top NATO commander there.

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By cyrena, August 11, 2008 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

Oh please dihey..

Why are you so determined to make this about Obama? This NEWS is about the Iraqis, and it’s been all over the place for nearly 24 hours…This originally posted by Reuters..

Iraq demands “very clear” U.S. troop timeline

By Mohammed AbbasSun Aug 10, 12:47 PM ET

The United States must provide a “very clear timeline” to withdraw its troops from Iraq as part of an agreement allowing them to stay beyond this year, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Sunday.

It was the strongest public assertion yet that Iraq is demanding a timeline. U.S. President George W. Bush has long resisted setting a firm schedule for pulling troops out of Iraq, although last month the White House began speaking of a general “time horizon” and “aspirational goals” to withdraw…


In an interview with Reuters, Zebari said the agreement, including the timeline, was “very close” and would probably be presented to the Iraqi parliament in early September.

Asked if Iraq would accept a document that did not include dates for a withdrawal, Zebari said: “No, no. Definitely there has to be a very clear timeline.”

“The talks are still ongoing. There’s been a great deal of progress. The deal is very close. It is about to be closed,” Zebari said of the agreement, which will replace a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the U.S. presence, which expires at the end of this year.

A sticking point in the negotiations is Washington’s wish that its troops be immune from Iraqi law. In July, Iraq’s deputy speaker of parliament told Reuters lawmakers would likely veto any deal if this condition were granted.

Other hurdles include the power of the U.S. military to detain Iraqi citizens, and their authority to conduct military operations, Zebari said.



He would not be drawn on the precise dates that Iraqi negotiators are seeking for withdrawal, saying the document was not yet final. Iraqi officials have said they would like to see all U.S. combat troops out by October 2010.

An agreement that included that date would require the Bush administration effectively to accept a timeline almost identical to the one proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who opposed the 2003 invasion.

“You may hear many dates, but I caution you not to take any of these dates until you get the final document,” Zebari said.

Iraq has taken an increasingly assertive stance in negotiations with the United States after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s forces scored military victories against militia groups this year, giving the government a confidence boost.

The high price of oil means the Iraqi treasury has more money for reconstruction projects than it can figure out how to spend, and violence is at a four-year low.

Iraqi politics have been paralyzed by a dispute over the northern city of Kirkuk, which Kurds claim as the capital of their autonomous homeland. The issues threatens to stoke ethnic tensions between the city’s Kurds, Arabs and ethnic Turkmen.

That quarrel scuppered a law needed to allow provincial elections across the country, despite intensive lobbying by the United States and United Nations to reach a deal.

Link to entire piece

Who cares what you heard Richardson say without batting an eye? The only people making a messiah out of Obama are you repiglicans and the McCain team, since he can’t do anything the drum up ANY substance for his own campaign, based on his OWN self, he and the rest of you have to make his campaign about Obama.

It’s such an OLD and LAME trick. Just like McCain.

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By dihey, August 10, 2008 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

A few minutes ago I heard Governor Richardson declare without batting an eye that “the Iraqis have now agreed with Senator Obama (on a time line for partial withdrawal)” The incredible paternalism if not idiocy of this statement shows once again how much our so-called “leading politicians” are out of touch with reality. The notion that the Iraqi leadership waited with baited breath to even consider TOTAL withdrawal until their Messiah Obama asked for “redeployment” is laughable. Obama has nothing to do with that. The real reason is that the UN “mandate” for the occupation of Iraq expires at he end of this year hence that President Bush must now negotiate with the Iraqi politicians instead of the UN Security Council. Let there be no doubt that even the most supine genuflecturers among them have always wanted us to leave completely.

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By dale Headley, August 9, 2008 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are two truths about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are overlooked: the real reason the Bush Administration invaded Afghanistan was to gain control of the largest trans-Eurasian oil pipeline, which runs through that country.  Once Bush & Cheney had that pipeline in their grasp they let bin Laden go so they could turn their attention to the origin of the oil - Iraq.  The other reality is that the “surge”, in itself, had little to do with the decline in American deaths (Iraqi deaths are essentially unknown).  The real effect was achieved by the U.S. air force, which took over most of the fighting by bombing entire neighborhoods, emptying them of any opposition from Iraqi insurgents who have tried to defend their country from foreign occupiers.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, August 9, 2008 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

We should have never put boots down in Afghanistan, but Cheneycorp saw it as a means to an end- a foothold into the Oil rich nations of Iraq & Iran- More oil fields for the Oil Corps and their allies Of the M.E. Oil’royals’.
In th e’80’s Afghani’s were battling the Russians and ran them out with our help- what made Cheney Corp think that they could not run our Asses out with the help from other countries.Arrogance and meglomania is what led US to on the ground missions in Afghanistan. the quest for Oil in neighboring countries.think it was an oversight that Afghanistan was left high & dry when Iraq become the focus? think they are intersted in a bunch of Heroine growers- No they are setting their sights on Iran Now.the only reason they are even discussing sending more troops to Afghanistan is to maintain levels in the region any way they can.
And Who’s national’s out numbered all others on 9/11- the same country which would benefit from controlling the oil fields in Iraq & Iran- disguised under “American”  Flags flown by the Corporations.

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By David Model, August 9, 2008 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

George Bush’s true legacy may not be truly understood for many years.  Domestically he will be remembered as the president who severely weakened the economy, undermined civil liberties, and removed the foundations of democracy.  But it is on the international stage where George Bush will some day be compared to a gunslinger in the old West who shot up and practically destroyed two countries while the local sheriff and his deputies trembled in their boots at the thought of trying to stop him and the local judge supported him.

President Bush has committed a long list of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan that has caused unconscionable suffering and deprivation.  He has violated the Geneva Conventions, the UN Convention Against Torture, the UN Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the UN Charter.

Using military force in both Afghanistan and Iraq violated the basic principle of the United Nation’s Charter which established a careful set of guidelines to avoid conflict between two or more nations.  The two conditions under which one country may use force against another include defense against an imminent attack and approval of the Security Council after a series of measures, defined in the charter, have been followed in an attempt to avoid a conflict.  Neither of the criteria was met when the U.S. attacked Afghanistan and Iraq rendering President Bush guilty of the crime of perpetrating a war of aggression.

Attacking civilians and not treating prisoners humanely are expressly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.  Prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq not to mention other countries have been kidnapped, hooded, beaten and detained in inhumane conditions.  Close to one million civilians have died during the war and occupation in both countries and the rationale of accidental death can not be invoked to explain such a plethora of deaths.

Torturing prisoners and treating them inhumanely violate both the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture.  Holding prisoners and denying them their civil and legal rights also violates international law.

The most serious international crime of which George W. is guilty is the crime of genocide.  By destroying the infrastructure further after his father and Clinton initially bombed water treatment plants, electrical utilities, irrigation systems etc., killing a further 600,000 people and creating conditions in which four million people became refugees meets the criteria in the Genocide Convention for the crime of genocide.

While it may be a long time before the American people are fully aware of his war crimes, the people of Iraq and Afghanistan have experienced the consequences firsthand.

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By cyrena, August 8, 2008 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

The map associated with the CNN article is a pretty good one. Maybe some readers will consider it in their discussions of the overall area that marks the difference (geographically speaking) between the “Middle East” and South Asia.

I frequently classify Iran (for my own purposes)as a ‘buffer zone’ between those regions.

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