Friday, December 22, 2006

Vali Nasr on "Surge"

That's the new buzzword: surge.
From what I gather, it means one final, desperate effort to bring order out of chaos in Iraq by an increase in troop numbers coupled with more and louder cheer leading.

I have bought Vali Nasr's book and will get into reading it after Christmas, but this piece at Josh Marshall's place is spot on. the grander scheme of things, it is not Iraq that needs a troop surge, but Afghanistan. As Barnett Rubin points out in his excellent essay in the latest issue of the Foreign Affairs the country where the 9/11 plot was hatched and the international terror threat started may well collapse into chaos and violence, and produce another terrorist threat if the U.S. does not commit more troops and resources to shore up its government and economy, and contain the Taliban. Surging in the wrong country at this time will make the U.S. more vulnerable in the coming years. Ignoring Afghanistan will take that country back to where it was before 9/11 while the cycle of surges and insurgencies in Iraq will further limit our ability to respond to Afghanistan. What should Washington do: Surge in Afghanistan if you surge anywhere, and as for Iraq, focus first on a political roadmap.

Nasr is from Iran, very well-educated and no body's fool. One might say he is looking out for his mother country, but I think he is just stating the obvious. Aside from his obvious academic credentials, he comes across as calm, clear-thinking and reasonable. I am mystified why the administration seems to have missed (or ignored) the counsel of well-informed sources such as he. I don't think the president is delusional, but I'm beginning to wonder...

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