by Patrick J. Buchanan on November 30, 2009
Only one parallel to Barack Obama’s troop decision comes to mind: the 2007 decision by George W. Bush to ignore the Baker Commission and put Gen. David Petraeus in command of a “surge” of 30,000 troops into Iraq.
That surge succeeded. Baghdad was largely pacified. The Sunni of Anbar, heart of the resistance, accepted Petraeus’ offer of cash and a role in the new Iraq. Together, Americans and Sunni began to eradicate al-Qaida. In July, the surge ended and U.S. troops withdrew from the cities.
In August and October, however, the Finance, Justice and Foreign ministries were bombed. The Sons of Iraq now say the Shia government reneged on its pledge to pay their wages and bring them into the army.
Jockeying in parliament for the inside track to power in January’s elections may force a postponement of the elections, and of the U.S. timetable for withdrawal. Kurds and Arabs are battling over Kirkuk. Iraqis seem to be going back to fighting one another.
What hope can there be then for a U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan, a larger, wilder, less accessible, more backward country, whose regime is less competent and more corrupt than that in Iraq?