Critics of the Bush Administration’s policies in Iraq have charged that the Bush Administration’s “surge” policy has failed, since its stated intention was to improve security to create the political space for “national reconciliation” in Iraq. Since national reconciliation has not taken place in Iraq, the surge has failed.
But after this week’s US-assisted Iraqi government assault on neighborhoods in Basra controlled by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, I fear that this criticism praises with faint damnation. I fear that it could be construed to accept the premise that the Bush Administration is trying to produce national political reconciliation in Iraq, while arguing that it has failed to achieve its goal.
After this week, I regard this premise to be a clear fraud.
While President Bush says the Iraqi government offensive showed that the prime minister believed “in evenhanded justice” - presumably because the government was showing that it would attack Shiite as Sunni militias - supporters of the Mahdi Army claimed that it was a political attack on their movement to weaken it prior to regional elections scheduled for October. But this interpretation of events is by no means limited to Iraqis.