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    14 September 2007

    By Bush's definition, the "surge" has failed

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    In George Bush's prime time address to the nation Thursday night he laid out the basic premise of of his escalation strategy in Iraq.
    The premise of our strategy is that securing the Iraqi population is the foundation for all other progress. For Iraqis to bridge sectarian divides, they need to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods. For lasting reconciliation to take root, Iraqis must feel confident that they do not need sectarian gangs for security. The goal of the surge is to provide that security and to help prepare Iraqi forces to maintain it.

    So that's it, the Iraqis need to feel safe. And he's right. But he misses the point that the escalation has not made people feel safer. A recent poll points this out, Marc Lynch summarizes the findings:
    ...The BBC/ABC/NHK survey, conducted in all 19 provinces during August, finds that 70% of Iraqis believe that security has deteriorated in the areas covered by the US "surge", and 11% say it has had no effect. Only 11% say that security in the country as a whole has improved in the last six months.
    ...
    95% of Sunnis say that the presence of US troops makes security worse.
    ...
    56% described the "security situation" in the neighborhood in which they live as bad, up slightly from 53% in February, while only 24% say that the security situation in this neighborhood has improved in the past six months. 79% of Sunnis say that security in their neighborhood is bad - despite all those American walking tours of happy, safe markets. Only 7% of Sunnis say that security in their neighborhood has improved in the last 6 months, and only 6% feel safe in their neighborhood.
    ...
    Don't get too excited that 43% say that the neighborhood in which they currently live is relatively safe, because it's probably because this is where they fled to escape from ethnic cleansing: 74% describe their "freedom of movement - the ability to go where you wish safely" as bad, and 77% say that "freedom to live where you wish without persecution" is bad. An astonishing 98% say that the separation of people along sectarian lines is a bad thing.
    ...
    65% say that the current national government is doing a bad job...

    The Iraqis don't feel safe in the neighborhoods. The Iraqis haven't answered, in this poll, whether or not they want/need sectarian gangs for security. But, our plan in Anbar is facilitating just that. Meanwhile the Iraqi security forces are rife with Shiite sectarianism. All-in-all, by Bush's "premise" the 'surge' has failed. Furthermore, hope that this will change much in the next 6 to 12 months when the surge is forced to end do to the stress it has put on our military is just hope. And a slim hope at that. By this time next year we'll be back at the troop level we started at, with no end in sight.

    Posted by Geoff

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