[Allan Topol / AllanTopol.Com]
Lightning paced thriller writer
of International Intrigue
National Bestselling Author

After the Surge
by Allan Topol, [IMAGE]2007


Photo Courtesy: Julie Zitin
[Allan Topol / AllanTopol.Com] In Washington, both the Republicans and the Democrats are so far from reality in dealing with Iraq that it’s pathetic. The Bush Administration’s surge policy, currently being implemented, has no chance of stabilizing Baghdad much less the entire country within the short time frame forced upon the President by the Democratic majority in Congress. And the Democrats who formulated their withdrawal timetable arguably to achieve stability have done nothing more than ensure our defeat and ignomious withdrawal from Iraq.

These conclusions were underscored by a statement last week by General David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq. The General is very articulate and chooses his words carefully, as befitting the recipient of a Ph.D. from Princeton University. General Petraeus said, “the Washington clock is moving more rapidly than the Baghdad clock.” Perhaps fearing his words were too enigmatic, he added, “we’re obviously trying to speed up the Baghdad clock a bit and to produce some progress on the ground that can, perhaps...put a little more time on the Washington clock.”

This is hardly plain speaking. Not barracks language by any means. But the meaning is clear: our troops can’t possibly deliver the result that you politicians in Washington want in the short time you’ve given us.

One could be kind to the politicians and say that they were only responding to the American public’s viewpoint as reflected by the 2006 congressional elections. Those showed that an overwhelming percentage want the United States to stop sacrificing American men and women as well as dollars in this war. But then again, that may reflect the fact that decisionmakers haven’t given the American people a full statement of what’s at stake in Iraq and a realistic timetable for success. No one, neither Republican nor Democrat, has had the courage to use the “o” word, leveling with the American people and saying that one reason it’s critical that we stay involved militarily in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East is so that you will only have to pay $3 a gallon for gasoline and not $8 or $10.

Some will take issue with my negative conclusion that achieving stability in Iraq will take years and not weeks or months if in fact it’s achievable. They can point to Senator John McCain’s statement after his recent trip to Iraq that “the new political military strategy is beginning to show results.” Video shots of the Senator’s visit to a Baghdad market show Iraqis walking around not the least bit worried while children ride smiling on a merry-go-round. It all looked like an American county fair. What wasn’t shown was the incredible security that cordoned off the area. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this wasn’t what the market looked like the day before or the day after his visit.

Others point to the recent reduction in sectarian violence and say, “see the surge is working.” This is delusional. The root cause of the carnage, namely the animosity between Sunnis and Shiites has not been reduced one iota.

Instead, thanks to the Congressional Democrats’ decision to disregard the Constitutional separation of powers and conduct their own foreign policy, both Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq know that we are likely to be out of Iraq within the next eighteen months. They are wisely using this interval to withdraw some of their forces to their own strongholds and rearm thanks to Iran and Syria while waiting for us to leave. It reminds me of my ninth grade gym class in a large public high school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two groups of boys (we didn’t call them gangs in those days) hated each other. They didn’t fight with each other when the teacher was in the room. They waited until he left the gym. Then all hell broke loose.

Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq have hated each other for fourteen hundred years. It goes back to a war fought over Mohammad’s successor. Sunnis killed Mohammad’s grandson and carried his head on a stick from Karbala in Iraq to Damascus. We won’t teach them to love each other in six months. Saddam Hussein and his Sunni thugs kept order before we arrived with their reign of terror on Shiites, who comprise sixty percent of the population.

Now Saddam’s gone and we’re the gym teacher. Both Sunnis and Shiites are convinced they can beat the hell out of the other group. They can’t wait for us to leave.

It’s time to start burning the midnight oil in Washington and ordering in pizzas for dinner. The surge won’t work. President Bush still has control of this tar baby for almost two more years. Unlike Nancy Pelosi, he can’t throw a scarf on his head and fly to Damascus. He better figure out what his next move will be.