Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Iraq, ONLY 73 dead this month

From the AP:

"BAGHDAD - The U.S. military said Tuesday that a Marine was killed in fighting west of the capital, bringing the American death toll for July to at least 73 — still the lowest in eight months."

As if 73 more dead Americans is somehow good news? The implication and the spin of course will be that the "surge is working" because less soldiers are getting killed. Could it be that those bent on killing Americans have just gone somewhere else? Maybe taking a summer vacation till the heat wears off?

The other thing, is that there is still this strain of thinking that says there is not enough "good news" coming out of Iraq, and that's why Americans are so down on the war.

It doesn't matter how many hospitals are built, schools are built, power plants restored, etc, as long as the situation within the Iraqi government remains the same (ineffective, corrupt, squabbling, wracked with ethnic and religious infighting, etc), there can be no permanent change for the better.

It is like the guy on life support in the hospital. The staff says, we did physical therapy on him, we bathed him, shaved him, cut his hair, put some clean undies on him. He's still dead from the neck up, but gosh he looks good doesn't he?

The Iraqi government MUST be able to do the things that normal governments do: provide security, infrastructure, uphold the law, and so forth (and as a PS, the governments in the Lebanon and the territories must do the same thing or perish).

We keep hearing that we just need a little more time to "complete the mission". So many Americans are so damn uncritical of these statements it is very frustrating.

I thought the mission was to disarm Saddam Hussein (done), then it was regime change (done), then it was giving the Iraqi's a freely elected government (done), who knows what the reason
du jour for us still being in Iraq is now. They have to tack on a new reason every so often to make us being there plausible.

If the "mission" is to end sectarian violence, this is an impossible mission. If it is to make the streets of Iraq safe, well, heck, we can't even do that in some of our own cities, up to and INCLUDING our nation's capitol. If it is to defeat an insurgency, while creating more insurgents weekly simply by being a large occupying force, this is an impossible mission as well.

WHAT IS OUR "MISSION" IN IRAQ, AND HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN IT'S OVER? To many Americans, it seems that the thinking is that it will be over when the government tells us it's over.

And the months roll on and on, and ONLY 73 more Americans are dead. What "mission" are these guys (and gals) dying for?

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