Friday, April 13, 2007

Leading article: The spectre of Saigon looms over Baghdad

The Independent

(A lousy article but has some truth)

".......The other risk is that any remaining confidence that the Americans are able to keep their allies safe will be undermined. Inside the "green zone" are not just the Iraqi parliament and many US military and diplomatic facilities. The "zone" is also home to many Iraq government offices and foreign representations; several thousand Iraqis live there. If the "zone" is seen to be vulnerable, all trust in the possibility of order spreading out from there to the rest of Baghdad will evaporate. The spectre of a Saigon-style retreat from Baghdad will be harder and harder to dispel.

This is the ninth week of the US "surge". More and more American and Iraqi soldiers are to be seen on Baghdad streets, as the attempt to crack down on the violence gains pace. The greater visibility of US troops, which is an integral part of the strategy, automatically makes them more vulnerable. It is probably inevitable that, even as the number of violent incidents has declined, US military casualties have increased.

For the strategy to work, it must do much more than multiply armed patrols. It must convince Iraqis that law and order can be restored, not just now but in the longer term. It is not just about deterring gunmen and bombers; it is about instilling confidence in the authorities' prospects of success and reducing support for militant sectarianism. The US "surge" already seemed to be in trouble; yesterday's bombing showed that the citadel could be breached. If and when the US abandons Iraq, this day will mark the beginning of that end."


The "ink blot" strategy is working in reverse: Instead of the "ink blots" getting larger, they are shrinking!

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