Monday, November 24, 2008

ROBERT GATES' URGE TO SURGE

Ray McGovern, Antiwar - After meeting in Canada with counterparts from countries with troops in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Gates emphasized to reporters there is a shared interest in "surging as many forces as we can" into Afghanistan before the elections there in late September 2009. At the concluding news conference, Gates again drove home the point: "It's important that we have a surge of forces."

Basking in the alleged success of the Iraq "surge," Gates knows a winning word when he hears one - whether the facts are with him or not. Although the conventional wisdom in Washington credits the "surge" with reducing violence in Iraq, military analysts point to other reasons - including Sunni tribes repudiating al-Qaeda extremists before the "surge" and the de facto ethnic cleansing of Sunni and Shi'ite neighborhoods.

In Washington political circles, there's also little concern about the 1,000 additional U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq since President George W. Bush started the "surge" early in 2007. The Americans killed during the "surge" represent roughly one-quarter of the total war dead whose numbers passed the 4,200 mark last week.

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