Obama’s Afghan Surge

Deepak Tripathi

(Media Monitors Network, December 28, 2008 )

Nearly thirty years after the Cold War exploded into full-scale conflict in Afghanistan, the incoming president, Barack Obama, is about to embark on yet another stage in America’s involvement in that country. In short hand, it is described as Obama’s ‘Afghan surge’. If a recent report in the New York Times is anything to go by, the ‘Afghan surge’ would be remarkably similar to the ‘surge’ of 2007 in Iraq under President George W Bush.

The ‘Iraqi surge’ was an attempt to subdue the rapidly escalating cycle of violence in the capital, Baghdad, and Anbar Province covering much of western Iraq. The buildup involved the deployment of thirty thousand extra US troops as part of ‘The New Way Forward’ announced by Bush in January 2007. Barely six weeks before, the Washington Post had disclosed a US intelligence report admitting that ‘the social and political situation has deteriorated to a point’ that American and Iraqi troops ‘are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency’ in Anbar. From village to provincial levels, nearly all government institutions had collapsed. Summarizing the assessment, one American military officer said, “We have been defeated politically – and that’s where wars are won and lost.” More