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To rise high and roll onward

Fri, Jan 12th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

Surge, they are calling it.

Insert more than 20,000 troops into Iraq, deploy them in Baghdad, take control of security, stay a short time and get the hell out.

A linguist I heard on the radio analyzed surge as being a wave of energy and a possible antithesis to the word insurgent. It also has the connotation of being a short lived event.

Get it? Fight the insurgency with surge.

Insurgents were our big problem in Iraq until civil war replaced it. Remember Al Qaeda? They've been replaced by people like Muqtada Al Sadr, a cleric war-lord with his own personal militia, as Shiites kill Sunnis and vice versa.

The linguist concluded by saying that surge comes across as a generally positive word, a lot better than, say, stay the course; surge is short, like a shot of espresso, while stay the course, like the President has defined it, is like forever and a day.

Surge is also a better word than escalation, which is stay the course plus 20,000 more troops and, oh, so, reminiscent of what happened in Vietnam.

According to the President, after the surge of troops, the plan calls for training Iraqi's to take control of their own country, which is a problem because all Iraqis are either Kurds, Sunnis or Shiites first before they are Iraqis. So, we can train them till the cows come home and Iraqi soldiers are always going to be ethnic cleansers before they are nationalist healers. Some people thought that we had been training Iraqis the past couple years, but apparently not. By the way, I think we are supposed to be doing this training thing hyper-fast. I think the word used was accelerate.

The big question is how effective surge and accelerate will be in a civil war situation. The Iraqi Health Ministry reports that in 2006, 23,000 Iraqi people were killed in the war. In the first six months, 5,640 died; in the last six months, as sectarian violence rose out of control, 17,310 people died. This is no longer an insurgency; remember when the Administration denied that a civil war was going on in Iraq?

One war critic, a former general, likened intervening in the Iraq civil war to trying to intervene between the Russians and Germans at the Siege of Stalingrad. Are we sure we want to put another 20,000 troops right in the middle of two warring sides?

Mr. Bush has put a couple of months between himself and the Iraq Study Group's recommendations, which called for diplomacy and a phased withdrawal. Mr. Bush said that he has spent the last two months listening to ideas, but he didn't get the surge and accelerate idea from Misters James Baker and Lee Hamilton, the leaders of the study group. They said that there is no military solution in Iraq. George Bush thinks otherwise.

As Commander in Chief, the President can send troops pretty much wherever he wants to. Too bad American lives will once again be lost needlessly.

To rise high and roll onward, as waves; swell or heave. That's how Webster's defines surge.

There are professional wordsmiths out there who get paid big money to come up with the right word or phrase that can either hard sell or soft peddle an idea, depending on the situation.

From the people that brought us Shock and Awe and Operation Iraqi Freedom, we now have Surge.

Surge, as a word, is ingenious in its simplicity as a subliminal counterpoint to insurgency. A piece of eerie propaganda, sold to an American public as a fresh initiative, for a new and improved Iraq War.

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