McClatchy: U.S. troops say surge is a lost cause

It’s by Tom Lasseter, the same Baghdad beat reporter who wrote that wrist-slitter on Thursday about Sadrist infiltration of the Iraqi army. Aside from one article in WaPo a few weeks ago, I haven’t seen any surge-related reporting from any mainstream media outlet as relentlessly pessimistic as his last two have been. He’s got a knack for getting killer quotes from American soldiers about the futility of continuing the fight, too. Possibilities: (1) he’s moving within an unusually demoralized circle of troops; (2) he’s zeroing in on the most demoralized members of an otherwise typical unit; or (3) he’s fairly representing what morale is now like within a typical unit. We know which one Eric Boehlert would say it is, but we also know that Eric Boehlert doesn’t particularly care if the news he’s getting from Iraq is true or not so long as it’s sufficiently dire.

I guess what you choose to believe here depends upon whether your skepticism of Bush exceeds your skepticism of the media at this point or vice versa.

“To be honest, it’s going to be like this for a long time to come, no matter what we do,” said Hardy, 25, of Atlanta. “I think some people in America don’t want to know about all this violence, about all the killings. The people back home are shielded from it; they get it sugar-coated.”…

“What is victory supposed to look like? Every time we turn around and go in a new area there’s somebody new waiting to kill us,” said Sgt. 1st Class Herbert Gill, 29, of Pulaski, Tenn., as his Humvee rumbled down a dark Baghdad highway one evening last week. “Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting for thousands of years, and we’re not going to change that overnight.”

“Once more raids start happening, they’ll (insurgents) melt away,” said Gill, who serves with the 1st Infantry Division in east Baghdad. “And then two or three months later, when we leave and say it was a success, they’ll come back.”…

Almost every foot soldier interviewed during a week of patrols on the streets and alleys of east Baghdad said that Bush’s plan would halt the bloodshed only temporarily. The soldiers cited a variety of reasons, including incompetence or corruption among Iraqi troops, the complexities of Iraq’s sectarian violence and the lack of Iraqi public support, a cornerstone of counterinsurgency warfare…

“All of our friends who have been killed by (roadside bombs) and snipers, it’s like there’s no justice for it – it’s just another body bag filled,” [Sgt. Chance Oswalt] said. “The guys who died just trying to stay alive and get home, they’ll be forgotten. No one will remember their stories.”…

“It’s kind of relentless and pointless,” said [Spc. Elmer] Beere, 22, of State College, Pa. “It’ll be the same thing going on here, no matter what we do.”

The officers Lasseter spoke to are more optimistic, although he clearly believes they’re kidding themselves.

Update: SWLiP says Lasseter has a history of accentuating the negative.