Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Surge, Hailed by Cheney Today in Texas, is Not a 'Change In Direction' But Justification of Failed Occupation Policy

27 Feb 2008 09:00 Africa/Lagos

Surge, Hailed by Cheney Today in Texas, is Not a 'Change In Direction' But Justification of Failed Occupation Policy

NEW YORK, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

As the five-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion draws near, a new PR offensive by the White House is attempting to frame the recent troop "surge" as a strategic and military turnaround. But a growing chorus of experts warn that such claims merely mask the Administration's long-standing policy to ensure a protracted American occupation of the oil-rich nation. They warn that the occupation will not result in an end to the violence that has enveloped Iraq and so far claimed nearly 4,000 American lives.

Speaking at Ft. Hood on Tuesday, Vice President Dick Cheney told Texas troops, "It was time for a new strategy, backed up by a surge of forces... and you did in fact turn things around." And at a town hall meeting in Ohio on Monday, Senator John McCain, the likely Republican presidential candidate who has said he supports a protracted American presence in Iraq, hailed the surge of troops and declared the country "generally quiet."

But experts familiar with the situation on the ground in Iraq claim that the drop in sectarian violence over the last months is unsustainable and ignores the fundamental flaws in US policy, especially the decision to occupy the country after removing Saddam Hussein from power. Increasing the number of occupying American troops is inherently incompatible with the Administration's long-stated goal of establishing a democratic, sovereign Iraq, they argue.

"Ending the occupation is a precondition for political reconciliation inside Iraq," says Jonathan Steele, a longtime foreign policy analyst and author of the just-released, "Defeat: Why America and Britain Lost Iraq." "The best chance for persuading Iraqis to look into the abyss and see they cannot afford to tear their country apart is to make them realize their country's future is in their own hands at last," he writes. "As long as foreigners take Iraq's decisions for them, there is little chance of progress."

Steele speaks from long experience, having spent most of the last five years in Iraq covering the war for the UK's Guardian and interviewing hundreds of government officials, policy makers, civilians and soldiers. Extending the US occupation of Iraq, he argues, ignores hundreds of years of Iraqi history and culture, and the deep-seated resentment in the Arab world towards western intervention and occupation, themes he explores in detail in Defeat.

"Most occupations fail. In the Middle East they fail absolutely," writes Steele, "the occupation is the elephant in the room. The US has not lost a military battle but after almost five costly years, it has failed to win, and will go on failing to win, what has become an increasingly bloody war of attrition. Sending more Americans to die in Iraq will not change that painful reality."

Source: Represent Agency

CONTACT: Ina Howard-Parker of Represent Agency, +1-347-296-8921

Note to Editors: For additional information please contact Ina Howard-Parker at 347-296-8921

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