President Bush laid down the standard of success when he announced the surge more than a year ago: "If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home."
Than yesterday we get this:
The Pentagon is projecting that when the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq ends in July there will be about 8,000 more troops on the ground than when it began in January 2007, a senior general said Monday.
Rolling Stone has a great report, From Iraq, that's online now and out in next months mag.
Hoping to turn enemies into allies, U.S. forces are arming Iraqis who fought with the insurgents. But it's already starting to backfire. A report from the front lines of the new Iraq
NIR ROSEN Posted Mar 06, 2008
It's abit of a long read, but a truth to word and opening ones mind to imagine the reality as if there, opening:
It's a cold, gray day in December, and I'm walking down Sixtieth Street in the Dora district of Baghdad, one of the most violent and fearsome of the city's no-go zones. Devastated by five years of clashes between American forces, Shiite militias, Sunni resistance groups and Al Qaeda, much of Dora is now a ghost town. This is what "victory" looks like in a once upscale neighborhood of Iraq: Lakes of mud and sewage fill the streets. Mountains of trash stagnate in the pungent liquid. Most of the windows in the sand-colored homes are broken, and the wind blows through them, whistling eerily. House after house is deserted, bullet holes pockmarking their walls, their doors open and unguarded, many emptied of furniture. What few furnishings remain are covered by a thick layer of the fine dust that invades every space in Iraq. Looming over the homes are twelve-foot-high security walls built by the Americans to separate warring factions and confine people to their own neighborhood. Emptied and destroyed by civil war, walled off by President Bush's much-heralded "surge," Dora feels more like a desolate, post-apocalyptic maze of concrete tunnels than a living, inhabited neighborhood. Apart from our footsteps, there is complete silence.
We have created a Huge Refugee Crisis that may be ready to explode, creating more danger to them and the already unstable conditions of Iraq and the region.
A top U.N. refugee official warned on Tuesday of the possibility that Iraqi refugees might be expelled from their sanctuaries unless the United States, Iraq and other countries act quickly to help them.
One of the reasons for the curb in violence, besides the ceasefire by Sadr and paying former insurgent personal to not fight U.S. troops but the so called al Qaeda of Iraq, are the Blast Walls seperating the now mostly ethnically cleansed neighborhoods of Baghdad.
Baghdad security walls curb violence, at a cost
To some Iraqis they are the reason it is safe to shop. To others they are like big jails.
Not winning Hearts and Minds!!
And any Iraq refugees, returning, voluntarily or forced because of lack of money or forced out of safer neighboring countries, return to the ethnically cleansed neighborhoods, most with others now living in their homes, and all living behind Walls of Concrete seperating neighborhood from neighborhood!
The three trillion dollar war
The cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have grown to staggering proportions
Most Americans have yet to feel these costs. The price in blood has been paid by our voluntary military and by hired contractors. The price in treasure has, in a sense, been financed entirely by borrowing. Taxes have not been raised to pay for it - in fact, taxes on the rich have actually fallen. Deficit spending gives the illusion that the laws of economics can be repealed, that we can have both guns and butter. But of course the laws are not repealed. The costs of the war are real even if they have been deferred, possibly to another generation.
So far this Month some 29 U.S. Military Personal have been killed in Iraq, by Iraq Casulties.org.
“ Every war, when viewed from the undistorted perspective of life's sanctity, is a "civil war" waged by humanity against itself."
- Daisaku Ikeda