By Rowan Wolf of Uncommon Thought Journal
Maybe I’m mistaken, but I thought that “surge” was a rapid increase followed by a withdrawal. A surge does not keep coming. President Bush started a “surge” which was not supported by the public. He has now extended the tours of troops already deployed, deployed additional troops, and is continuing new deployments into the fall of 2007. We went from a “surge” of 35,000 troops to a sustained presence (of potentially) an additional 98,000 troops. This could bring U.S. troops in Iraq to 200,000 – more than have been there at any point in the invasion and occupation.
As Hearst notes in his report, the various steps taken by the Bush administration may result in as “many as 28 combat brigades in Iraq by Christmas.” He also quotes a retired US NATO Commander:
Retired Army Maj. Gen. William Nash, the U.S. commander who led NATO troops into Bosnia in late 1995, when asked to comment on the analysis of deployment orders, said: “It doesn’t surprise me that they’re not talking about it. I think they would be very happy not to have any more attention paid to this.”
Indeed, they likely don’t want this talked about – which is every reason to do so.
Meanwhile, the Congress, including the Dems, have decided to drop timelines and approve supplemental money to maintain the U.S. Occupation of Iraq.
There are costs to be born for the “strategy” that has been put in place: costs to the people of Iraq; costs to deployed U.S. forces; costs to the families of those troops; and costs to the entire nation. This is not a strategy that will make either Iraqi’s, the Middle East and Asia, or the United States safer. The attacks by the Lebanese army on the Palestinian Nahr el-Bared refugee camp is but one example of the tinder box that is being created.
There is also a cost that will be born for at least a life time for the repeated deployments and extended tours being forced on our “volunteer” military – visible and invisible wounds of war.
Some have read the DoD report “Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT) IV Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07 Final Report (17 November 2006). It clearly shows that the stress of repeated deployments, extended tours, and ongoing combat operations, are deteriorating the mental health, and the moral judgment, of the troops. Instead of addressing these critical issues, they get more of the same. There was a lot of PTSD from the Vietnam War, but it is going to be made to look insignificant compared to the percentage of troops facing PTSD from this extended disaster.
These troops will come home to a Veteran’s health system that is largely broken and stripped. Joining them will be the array of “contractors.” Most of those contractors were never prepared for the conditions they have lived and worked under in Iraq, who will not be covered by even the modest services of the VA, and who likely will not have access to health care – much less mental health care. In other words, this country will see a lot of people with a lot of problems. They are victims of the neo-conservative Iraq “experiment.” Many of them, like too many from the Vietnam and Gulf War, will find themselves on the streets – invisible and made invisible like these earlier veterans.
As a nation, we do not want to acknowledge that dirty little secret of the homeless veterans, or the veterans who aren’t receiving the care and support they certainly deserve. The veterans who still fight the almost daily battle with PTSD. As the right rages on about supporting the troops by supporting their “mission” (no matter how ill conceived or vague), one wonders whether they will be supporting the Vet who blows up in their faces 5 years from now. One wonders if anyone will?
So the surge becomes an increased occupation while the US strong arms the Iraqi government to sign away their oil reserves through PSAs. Got to have those in place you know – and the Dems know … which is why they won’t block funding for this fiasco. It is also why virtually no one running for office, except perhaps Ron Paul, Mike Gravel, and Dennis Kucinich, is saying anything about the surge actually adding to the standing occupation. Meanwhile, the whole process is creating more extremism and conflict, and a new generation who has every reason in the world to hate the United States (and the West). It is a sure fire way to make sure the private and governmental military machine keeps its gears running smoothly and lucratively.
The pundits are saying we are looking at at least a five year occupation. My guess is it will be much longer than that. Meanwhile, the reservoirs of blood, and pain, and loss, and rage will be full for much longer still. Some stains never wash out – or stay painted over.
Disinformation or Hypocrisy, Wolf, 5/09/07
Send in the Troops. What Troops?, Wolf, 3/13/07