Thursday, January 11, 2007

JUST A NOTE: Don’t really want to talk about this at much length, but there are interesting things about the idea of a surge, linguistically. Bear with me. is not authoritative, but it has something useful here for surge. The principal definition is “a strong, wavelike volume or body of something,” in this case several armed brigades storming into the boroughs of Baghdad. Fine; that’s the main image.

In meteorological parlance, a surge can be attributed to “normal diurnal changes,” as in the back and forth of the seas as dictated by the impersonal forces of lunar gravity. What goes up goes down. As a electrical term, surges are irrational spikes of voltage that “oscillate violently,” with unpredictable results. You cannot channel a surge constructively. Nautically, a surge refers to the slackening and “slip[ping] back” of rope, indicating retreat, going backward.

Not the New Way Forward we’re promised, then. Finally, in terms of mechanics, a surge is “something driven by an engine,” therefore without appeal to reason. To me it suggests a shift in the gears of the war machine, panicking and squealing out of control as it approaches the edge of a cliff. Don’t forget that surge is central to insurgency. Maybe the United States is better off with some surge protection.

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