.....admire the big steely ones that put a positive spin on this:
This is a piece about focus groups held with Iraqi's by the US military to find the state of what's going on in Iraq.
Anyway, THIS is what comes out of the focus groups:
"Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of "occupying forces" as the key to national reconciliation."
Hmmmm. That's probably bad news. Right?
If you thought that, being a rational human being, you'd be wrong. It seems that:
"That is good news, according to a military analysis of the results. At the very least, analysts optimistically concluded, the findings indicate that Iraqis hold some "shared beliefs" that may eventually allow them to surmount the divisions that have led to a civil war."
Yes. They definitely have "shared beliefs". They hate us and our occupation of their country.
This is an important piece I believe for Americans to read. The Administration has done a GREAT job of tying less deaths in Iraq to the idea that we are winning the war (kind of a warped, macabre Vietnam era body count in reverse - in Vietnam we knew we were winning because the bodies were piling up. Here we "know" we are winning because the bodies are NOT piling up).
In fact, I read a "Letter to the Editor" in my daily paper on Saturday, scolding us bad Americans for not wanting to stay the course, and that now deaths are going down this "proves" the President was right all along, and we are winning, and we just need to stay a little bit longer and everything will be cool.
Never mind that the Iraqi government couldn't even keep a troop of Boy Scouts together for a two hour meeting much less provide the complex services that governments are supposed to provide (security, infrastructure support, etc).
My question has always been this. What are we still doing in Iraq?
There are a lot of Americans who actually believe that our presence in Iraq is actually preventing terrorist attacks (the "we fight them there so we don't have to fight them here" camp) . As I've pointed out here before, to even think logically about this for one minute will tell you that any group could plan a 9/11 style attack in any city in the world without any regard to happenings in Iraq or Afghanistan. Much of the planning for 9/11 was done in Europe, and the flight training was done in the good old US of A.
There are many that say we are there because if we leave, they will kill each other in an orgy of sectarian violence. That may or may not happen. But how long can we sustain our mission there, keeping them apart and HOPING that some day they'll reconcile? 5 years? 10 years? 50 years?
One of my favorite thinkers has always been Buckminster Fuller. Fuller conceived of this idea of what he called a Geoscope:
According to the above website, the Geoscope would be: "a massive 3-D educational environment, using an array of computers and databases to display real-time and historical data on nearly any world situation."
My feeling over the past few months has been that we need to start thinking about tracking the US Military that way. I (and many others I have culled from) have provided information about growing problems within the US military. Suicide. Drug and Alcohol abuse. Trouble in getting adequate treatment from the VA and other military treatment facilities. Desertion. Mutiny.
Are these widespread issues? Who knows. They get a lot of press, leading some war supporters to say that it's just "the liberal media" (I guess that's me??) trying to keep any good news about Iraq from getting to the American public.
How much longer can the military sustain this mission (including the one in Afghanistan) before it implodes? Will it implode? What will be left if it implodes?
Are these things we are now seeing isolated events, or are they going to keep on trending up? Are these people doing these things just the "weak sisters" who can't hack it, and once they are gone the strong will have survived (kind of like military Darwinism), or is it going to be as many think, a "tsunami" of veterans in the coming years, broken physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
A lot of people don't even want to ask the questions. I think this comes from fear. Fear of what they may find.
So, it's easier just to sit back and trust the Administration (or the next one or the one after that) that they'll let us know when the war is over, and when we've "won", and forget our troubles and go shopping like the President says (because hey, it's Christmas time).
Now, I certainly don't have the skills to create something like the Geoscope (although I'll continue to try to pass the word along here in a haphazard way, with an eye toward trying to systematize it somehow).
I know there are a lot of great Vet organizations and others out there who are keeping track of these trends and statistics. They should all be supported in their work, and we should look for ways to network them so we can see the "big picture" and not just the random snapshots that make us wonder if it's a big problem or an isolated one.