Monday, June 30, 2014

Blast From the Past: "How the Word Will See the Surge" (2007)

Published on Tuesday, January 9, 2007 by
How the World Will See the Surge
by John Brown

There has been much press commentary in recent days concerning the administration's planned surge of American soldiers in Iraq. According to The New York Times, this "rapid influx of forces " could add as many as 20,000 American combat troops to Baghdad. The domestic consequences of what some media are calling a military escalation have been widely analyzed.

But US pundits, reflecting our widespread national assumption that Iraq is essentially about ourselves, have not sufficiently commented on the possible international reactions to the President's latest initiative overseas. Below are speculations, based on what polls and foreign media have been saying about the U.S. in recent years, about how some public opinion abroad, taken as a composite, will look at this latest Bush foreign-policy move.

1. The surge is yet another expression of US unilateralism. The Americans do what they want when and how they want, no matter what non-Americans -- including Iraqis -- think. They are not bothering to get international support or approval for their surge. The rest of the world be damned.

2. The Americans say one thing and do another. They proclaim peace as their goal in the Middle East but use military force whenever things don't go their way. While they love to boast about their wholesome values, they brutally kill innocent civilians in Baghdad neighborhoods in a surge to restore "stability." Their public diplomacy, whatever they say it is, is no more than blatant, hypocritical propaganda.

3. Elections in the U.S. don't really matter. Americans in November didn't vote for more troops in Baghdad, but their president is doing precisely that. The so-called opposition party in the U.S. is just part of an American imperialistic system that wants to dominate the rest of the planet, including its oil reserves, and that allows the White House carte blanche in carrying out aggressive military operations like the surge anywhere, any time.

4. The U.S. is under the control of an anti-Muslim, anti-Arab lobby. The White House is in fact controlled by a coterie of ideologues that wants to redraw the map of the Middle East in favor of Israel. The surge is their latest effort to accomplish this.

5. The American international media, both private and US government-supported, are not to be trusted. Their coverage of American military actions, with its traditional neglect of civilian victims, will try to show the surge in the best of lights. As for USG-funded outlets like Alhurra, they don't offer the real news. For more accurate reports, better to turn to the BBC or Al Jazeera.

6. The surge will result in more US casualties, but that's the Americans' own fault. They are bringing disaster after disaster upon themselves because they refuse to understand or negotiate with the world outside their own borders. The Americans have no idea of the real situation in Iraq, where they are occupiers, not liberators.

7. The surge is further evidence of sheer American incompetence. US efficiency, planning, and management are far overvalued. Simon Jenkins, The Times (January 7): "I have not heard one remotely plausible game plan for the 'Battle of the Surge.'"

8. The U.S., like ancient Rome, has overextended itself. The more it tries to control the world through the force of arms, the less successful it is in doing so. The surge, per se a minor military move, is yet another illustration of America's imperial decline caused by its hubris. How can American soldiers possibly "clean up" Baghdad neighborhoods, when their own cities are marked by incessant crime and violence?

9. The surge, while historically of limited significance, gives added evidence that the future no longer belongs to the U.S., which has become desperate in finding ways to influence events. The American era -- the twentieth century -- is just about gone forever, and another Bush military push in Iraq won't bring it back.

10. Any "superpower" that thinks it can "win" a universally condemned war with an additional 20,000 troops is certainly not a model to follow. Forget about the made-in-Hollywood American "dream." America is now producing one nightmare after another. It's become a mortal danger, not a universal hope.

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