Surge, Or the Failure of God
Since the Surge splashes in the face of conventional wisdom, military expertise, the public will, and the international community, and yet it has become policy in spite of these, a very strong impulse must be behind it.
The surge, I argue, is the 'natural' extension of a religious conviction.
A cessation in force may signal lack of Power to the enemy. In Milton's Paradise Lost, this is the impression taken of God by Satan after his Fall:
Here Satan wonders whether God, having recalled his ministers to Heaven, can ultimately be defeated. The retreat of his Ministers (warring Angels, like Michael) may be a sign that he has "spent his shafts, and ceases now to bellow." If God is spent, and cannot Surge again, then Satan might win in the end.
Similarly, if we withdraw with the enemy intact, and do not Surge again, then Satan ("the terrorists") may doubt that we are the Mighty. The Surge is symbolic and necessary for power to remain power.
At the base of this ideology is the assumption that the Power of the Universe-Providence, God, History-invests that Power in those who are Right. This belief boils down to a tautology: God is on our side because we are Right, and we are Right because God is on our side. That is, "Might Makes Right" embeds a belief in the rightness of might and the might of rightness.
Under the Might Makes Right belief system, major failure is not simply failure of mission, it is a failure of Providence, a failure of God. The surge is both symbolic and symptomatic of a need to show Might so that belief in Right (and God) is not forsaken.
In the Bush administration, as in Paradise Lost, the failure of Right Power is not just military, it is cosmic. If Satan or the Insurgency wins, then the entire universe is wrong. Thus, we surge.
Of course, the universe is not wrong; it's just different than what Bush and company believe it to be.
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