It has been a virtual cacophony of Kagans lately, providing cover fire for their urge to surge, and today we have Kimberly Kagan (she who rides the Wild Fred) explaining to us that the Dora market is too a thriving entrepreneurial wonderland:
The â€œsurgeâ€ of U.S. troops came gradually and deliberately to Dora. U.S. forces persevered, reopening the market as much as possible, while al Qaeda-linked terrorists and Shia militias continued their fight. Because the enemy controlled Dora, clearing operations did not begin in its vicinity until May 2007, when enough surge troops had arrived to reconnoiter the area in force. The 2-12 consolidated its position. By June, nine battalions had arrived to clear just a few small neighborhoods of Dora, which al Qaeda had fortified with deep-buried IEDs. U.S. forces cleared Dora in July 2007 â€” just six to ten weeks ago.
Three hundred shops had opened in the Dora market by August 2007, and it is bustling with Iraqis.
In Wednesdayâ€™s Washington Post, Sudarsan Raghavan, criticized the Dora market in an article called Weighing the â€˜Surgeâ€™: The U.S. War in Iraq Hinges on the Counterinsurgency Strategy Of Gen. Petraeus. The Results Have Been Tenuous. The Dora market is a frequent stop for visitors to Iraq assessing the progress of â€œthe surge.â€ Raghavan criticizes the market, and the frequent visits it receives from distinguished guests of General Petraeus: â€œ[T]he Dora market is a Potemkin village of sorts. The U.S. military hands out $2,500 grants to shop owners to open or improve their businesses. The military has fixed windows and doors and even helped rebuild shops that had burned down, soldiers and others said.â€
Yet when one considers the 300 shops reopened in the Dora market in the context of the past year, rather than in pre-2003 terms (more than 800 shops then, according to Raghavan), it is easy to understand why General Petraeus might think it worthwhile for visitors to see the Dora market. What had once been a burial pit and an insurgent stronghold is now a place of business. Yes, American funds have been used. And no, the opening of the Dora market did not secure Dora. But the clearing of Dora has made possible the reopening of the Dora market â€” which is now fair evidence of the value of the new strategy and tactics that General Petraeus brought to Iraq.
As pointed out in the WaPo article many of these stores are open…they just aren’t selling anything unless you’re in the market for dust. But never mind that because, as Kimberly sees it, the Dora market, once a thriving marketplace of 800 shops before that unfortunate pre-2003 invasion that she and her husband waved their war pom-poms for, is on the verge of becoming a Middle East Mall of America, albeit with hundreds of American Marines in the role of mall cops with attack helicopters. So where you may see a decimated strip mall selling rubble and sunglasses to Joe Lieberman, Kimberly sees the Dora Galleria.
That’s because she’s a glass 3/8ths full kind of gal.