Surge: Good, strong word, that. Suggests power

Surge: Good, strong word, that. Suggests power

That's exactly the impression George W Bush wanted to convey when he announced a surge of 20,000 extra troops into Iraq in January (it ended up closer to 30,000). The surge would, claimed Bush, give the Iraqi authorities "breathing space" to put down sectarian violence and concentrate on that all-important goal of becoming a proper democracy. Maybe he reckoned that the bad guys would be so shocked and awed by the arrival of all that extra manpower that they'd finally give up their aul' sins.

But that was back in January - why is it still in the news? It seems that the surge didn't quite deliver the short, sharp shock Bush was hoping for. It appears set to continue at least until spring 2008, as Gen Petraeus, Bush's muscle in Iraq, this week sought extra funding from the US Congress for this campaign.

Surge on, general!


Petraeus also cautioned that, after the region is properly secured, the US should, in the words of a panel of ex-military and police, "lighten its footprint" in Iraq.

So, no tip-toeing around the issue?

Bush joined the surge this week when he flew into Iraq unannounced to congratulate his troops on their "successes". But while American soldiers are surging one way, British forces seem to be surging the other way. The British army moved its base from increasingly troubled Basra to an airport 20km away.

Bush won't like that at all - his lapdog not following

Speaking at a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Sydney, Bush praised the Aussies for their back-up in Iraq, calling Australia the US's "deputy sheriff". I guess that makes the UK a "dirty, low-down cur".

Bush might even cry - apparently, the president regularly experiences a surge of tears when he thinks of the casualties in Iraq. A new book about Bush's presidency claims he spends much of his time crying "on God's shoulder".

Try at work

We're going for a marketing surge, people, and it's gonna get bloody.

Try at home

This surge of in-laws - when exactly will it end?

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Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist