Friday, August 22, 2008

What do you see when you look at Iraq?

Rorschach inkblot test
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Rorschach inkblot test (pronounced IPA: [ʁoɐʃax]) is a method of psychological evaluation. Psychologists use this test to try to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of their patients... It has been employed in diagnosing underlying thought disorder and differentiating psychotic from nonpsychotic thinking in cases where the patient is reluctant to openly admit to psychotic thinking.[1]

If you listen to President Bush or Senator McCain, the SURGE has worked. Candidate McCain uses Senator Obama's opposition to both the surge and the entire Iraq war as an example of Senator Obama's poor judgement. Of course, as the US surged 30,000 more soldiers into Baghdad, the British got a new leader and got the hell out of Iraq. An un-surge. Americans forces engaged insurgents, increasing the number of Iraqi refugees to over 4 million as Iraqis fled the battles in Baghdad. As the reported violence went down in Iraq, the violence escalated in Afghanistan.

Was it President Bush's strategy of deploying more soldiers into Baghdad that lead to "progress" in Iraq, or was it something else? Other possibilities might be that Iraqis were running out of ethnic neighborhoods to cleanse. Iraq is now much more segregated along religious and ethnic lines. The definition of ethnic violence was also changed, so that someone shot in the front was no longer considered a target of the ethnic civil war and chaos, but merely a victim of crime. Then of course, there are the CLCs. The White House website described them this way :

"Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs) continue to play a key role in the decreasing trends of violence and improving stability across Iraq.
More than 130 different CLC groups are volunteering to support security in their neighborhoods, with more than 80,000 active members.
More than 10,000 Iraqis from the original Anbar Awakening were hired and now serve in the Iraqi Security Forces. "
The Congressional Research Service describes them differently, noting "the CLCs are made up of former insurgents."
The CRS noted that during the surge, U.S. commanders were turning over "informal security responsibility to 91,000 former militants called 'Concerned Local Citizens' (CLC’s) or 'Sons of Iraq' in exchange for an end to their anti-U.S. operations. "
According to Factcheck.org , the U.S. is paying about $16 million dollars a month to members of the Sons of Iraq. "General Petraeus emphasized during his testimony that the 'savings in vehicles not lost because of reduced violence — not to mention the priceless lives saved — have far outweighed the cost of their monthly contracts.'"
http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/is_the_us_government_paying_factions_in.html
Will the paychecks convince the Iraqis to embrace a western style democracy, or will the checks mysteriously stop coming after the first week of November when Obama wins?

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