It's crunch time in Washington DC and Baghdad. On Monday 10 September 2007, General David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker will begin two days of testimony on Capitol Hill about the progress made by President Bush’s “surge” strategy in Iraq.
Nevertheless, in the quest to develop necessary alternatives to war as an instrument of policy, we should not delude ourselves about what is actually going on, as US Friends minister, commentator an writer Johan Maurer rightly argues. But then he adds, by way of exposition:
"[B]arring the use of wholesale slaughter and massive increases in imprisonment, the surge can, in the long run, only succeed in pushing opposition forces into a waiting mode. Even a new Iraqi military and police force will be no stronger or more stable than the political forces controlling them, and there is no guarantee that those forces will embrace values congenial to today's White House. In any case, that White House has not demonstrated:
- any willingness to be candid with us critics, or do anything other than talk down to us
- readiness to submit to public accountability for the disastrous deployment of precious national resources or the compromise of Constitutional values
- the capacity to assess conditions in Iraq competently or even to argue intelligently (depending for that mostly on pro-administration pundits);
"Don't blame the surge; blame the surgeon. (And all those who've abdicated civilian oversight of the military, congressional oversight over the executive, and the people's oversight over the whole show...)"
[Photo: Christian Peace Witness for Iraq]