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From Richard Oppel’s Jr.’s column on August 22, 2008:

“Although the “surge” is often described as the turning point that led to lower violence, a number of American officers contend the Awakening that began well before the surge in 2006 in Anbar Province and continued in Baghdad last year was the most significant reason for the decline. In some places, American casualties plunged within weeks of the Sunnis joining with American forces.”

McCain and his new comrade, Sarah Palin, in continued alignment with Bush policy, are touting the “Surge,” the increase in troops sent to Iraq in 2007, as a huge success.

Huh?

Someone needs brief McCain and Palin on the American backed Sunni tribal Awakening also known as the Sons of Iraq (SOI).

That is the name chosen by the ex-insurgents/ex-Al Qaeda members currently being paid three-hundred dollars a month apiece (minus the village Skeiks’ take) to fight on the same side as the Iraqi Army. The group’s pay is currently in American dollars and is paid by the American Government (taxpayers). Why, you might ask, is our American Government paying and arming the fellows who just a few months ago were shooting at American troops, planting roadside bombs, and participating in suicide bombings, killing American troops as well as Iraqis?

Well, first, because like the military brass have been telling President Bush and his other John McCain’s military rah rah supporters — there is no military solution to our invasion of Iraq. Even with a fragile peace being paid for under the counter, the Nuri Kamal al-Maliki led Iraqi Government has still not come together and passed the substantive legislation agreed upon as our reason(s) to remain in their country. (In fact, elections scheduled to take place this fall have been canceled due to lack of governmental cohesion and organization.) And, second, because the still primarily Shiite Iraqi Government, refuses to pay or arm the mostly Sunni SOI — the Iraqi Government cut a deal with the US to integrate one-half of the roughly 100,000 SOI into military or civilian jobs by October 1, and the integration of SOI members appears to be about as valid as the 163 million the Iraqi Government committed for the SOI but has yet to pay. So while the Iraqi Government claims that it is slowly integrating the SOI into the ranks of its army, but instead, the Iraqi Government is arresting members of the SOI for previous crimes during the insurgency.

“The state cannot accept the Awakening,” said Sheik Jalaladeen al-Sagheer, a leading Shiite member of Parliament. “Their days are numbered.”

Budget wise for the US, I suppose we can think of the arms and the cash payments to the Sons of Iraq as just a few thousand more “subcontractors.” Think of the shape our US budget would be in if Black Water had thought of hiring the enemy before General “Betrayus” did — the troop’s payroll would be much higher than a paltry three-hundred dollars per week. In Black Water dollars, three-hundred a week might cover a shoe lace replacement.

So, it seems we are paying and arming these fellows just to make things look better for awhile (until drum beaters like McCain and Palin have a chance to squirm and misrepresent the issues and themselves into office in the up-coming presidential elections). On the one hand, the military troop surge was a blatant failure; on the other hand, the under the counter surge of US dollars has succeeded, at least, in creating a temporary illusion of peace — certainly nothing to get my vote.

Let’s face it: what happens when the US cuts off funding the ex-insurgency? The men who make up the Sons of Iraq will find themselves unemployed again. And, because the Iraqi Government has not been using the relative peace to rebuild infrastructure, schools, hospitals, or other businesses that employ civilians, and because the Iraqi army will not hire them, there will be no jobs. These folks will be in the same situation as they were before they went on the American dole — broke with no future. The Sons of Iraq will either take up arms as a recurring Sunni insurgency, and/or will take up arms with Al Qaeda again. And rumor has it that al Quaida pays better than the US, but working for the US is a much safer job—the US doesn’t ask its subcontractors to blow themselves up.