Monday, September 10, 2007

Crushing political space

The overarching announced strategic objective of the Bush/Kagan/Keane surge/escalation plan was to create a local security bubble in order to foster an improved political climate. From this improved and safer climate, the major deals that need to get cut across multiple and usually contradictory lines and interest groups would have a chance of being cut. One of the supporting metrics that is neither neccessary nor sufficient but definately useful would have been an increased popular support and acceptance of the legitimacy of the Iraqi government as the primary purveyor and user of force, or at least the US military acting as an agent of the Iraqi government.

Well, the BBC and ABC News have some bad news, as shown in this graph:

Overwhelming majorities of Iraqis think that the violence both locally and nationally is getting more severe, the political discussion space has narrowed and the economy/infratstucture improvements which are the major public good that the traditional counterinsurgency campaign should be able to monopolize are insufficient.

The surge has failed on its overt metrics. It does look like it has succeeded in its implicit objective of kicking the can another six to nine months down the road to next April, at which point Iraq as a political issue in the United States is off the table until after the November election. So Bush and his enablers can lay the blame on someone else; Mission Accomplished.

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