Juan Cole takes a nuanced, balanced approach to analyzing the effects of the troop surge in Iraq:
For the first six months of the troop escalation, high rates of violence continued unabated. That is suspicious. What exactly were US troops doing differently last September than they were doing in May, such that there was such a big change? The answer to that question is simply not clear. Note that the troop escalation only brought US force strength up to what it had been in late 2005. In a country of 27 million, 30,000 extra US troops are highly unlikely to have had a really major impact, when they had not before.
Too bad the majority of the electorate won’t. Also some good comments over there.
I’m listening to this incredibly fascinating Fresh Air right now. It’s an interview with a guy who used to plan bomb strikes in Iraq, and then went to work for an organization that helps civilian victims of those very bombs.
As chief of high-value targeting for the Pentagon, Marc Garlasco helped plan the targets of laser-guided bombs during the invasion of Iraq. Now a senior analyst with Human Rights Watch, he visits war zones where he assesses the damage being done to civilians by bombs and lobbies for greater deliberation in the use of air power.
PBS FRONTLINE has their new special available for viewing online in its entirety:
Veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk draws on one of the richest archives in broadcast journalism — more than 40 FRONTLINE reports on Iraq and the war on terror. Combined with fresh reporting and new interviews, Bush’s War will be the definitive documentary analysis of one of the most challenging periods in the nation’s history.
“Parts of this history have been told before,” Kirk says. “But no one has laid out the entire narrative to reveal in one epic story the scope and detail of how this war began and how it has been fought, both on the ground and deep inside the government.”
Frontline is pretty much the last bastion of serious news documentaries in America, so it’s probably worth a look.