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Thursday, 9 August 2007

Why the Surge Has Failed

The war in Iraq passed a significant but little remarked anniversary this summer. The conflict that President Bush announced was effectively over on May 1, 2003 has now gone on longer than the First World War. Like that great conflict almost a century ago the Iraqi war has been marked by repeated claims that progress is being made and a final breakthrough is in the offing.

In 1917 the French commander General Robert Nivelle proudly announced “we have the formula for victory” before launching the French armies on a catastrophic offensive in which they were massacred. Units ordered to the front brayed like donkeys to show they saw themselves as being like animals led to the slaughter. Soon the soldiers broke into open mutiny.

On January 10 this year President Bush announced that he too now believed he had the formula for victory. In an address to the American nation he announced a new strategy for Iraq that became known as “the surge”. He said he was sending a further 20,000 US troops to Iraq. More...