Vijay Prashad: There is no such thing as a little torture or a little illegal bombing, a little war, a little fear. As with bloodletting, torture weakens the body politic. It is another legacy of 9/11.
John Peeler: Obama appears determined that the wars not overwhelm his domestic agenda, even as, pragmatically, he cannot walk away from either without exposing himself to withering political attacks. If Bush saw himself as a war president, Obama wants to be a reformer with two wars to manage.
Now, paying off the opposition does seem to have calmed things down in parts of Iraq (recent Baghdad bombings notwithstanding), and thereby provided us with an opening to carry through with the agreement we made with the Iraqi government to get our troops out of there. Maybe it can work in Afghanistan too.
General David Petraeus, the former military commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and author of the military’s most recent counterinsurgency manual, learned the lessons of the successful British counterinsurgency experience in Malaya in the 1950s. He was able to reduce the violence in Iraq by instituting a policy of U.S. military restraint in that country.
by Jules R. Benjamin — Has George W. Bush surged to victory in Iraq? If so, he can thank Iraqi tribalism, the success of ethnic cleansing, the loss of legitimacy by Al Qaida in Iraq, the “standing down” of the Sunni militias and Iran’s willingness to let its friends in Baghdad make their own peace […]