Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Body Count

Listening to the news I just heard announcers say that the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq now exceeds the body count from the bombing of the twin towers.

The death toll of US soldiers in Iraq has reached 2,975, surpassing the toll from the September 11 attacks that sparked the US "war on terror".

Three US soldiers have been killed around Baghdad, bringing the number of US fatalities in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to two more than the number killed in the 2001 World Trade Centre attacks

This is the count I get;

U.S. Deaths Confirmed By The DoD: 2957
Reported U.S. Deaths Pending DoD Confirmation: 18
Total 2975
DoD Confirmation List

In return for a terrible atrocity committed on this country, we have sent almost 3,000 American soldiers to their deaths. All the justifications this administration has given for doing that to them as individuals, to this country as a whole, to our ability to defend ourselves and to our standing in the world, and in history, all are proving to be purest fiction. Eminent Middle East authority Dr. Juan Cole took on the myths this morning in a long, detailed recount.

1. Myth number one is that the United States "can still win" in Iraq. Of course, the truth of this statement, frequently still made by William Kristol and other Neoconservatives, depends on what "winning" means. But if it means the establishment of a stable, pro-American, anti-Iranian government with an effective and even-handed army and police force in the near or even medium term, then the assertion is frankly ridiculous. The Iraqi "government" is barely functioning. The parliament was not able to meet in December because it could not attain a quorum. Many key Iraqi politicians live most of the time in London, and much of parliament is frequently abroad. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki does not control large swathes of the country, and could give few orders that had any chance of being obeyed. The US military cannot shore up this government, even with an extra division, because the government is divided against itself. Most of the major parties trying to craft legislation are also linked to militias on the streets who are killing one another. It is over with. Iraq is in for years of heavy political violence of a sort that no foreign military force can hope to stop.

There is much, much more in Dr. Cole's post, and I won't put it all up here. Of course, the major story of the day was the elimination of a police station that had been participating in its own war against rival militias in Basra. A Pentagon report last week had noted the existence of much violence instigated by militia members that had ensconced themselves in the police departments, waging war rather than keeping the peace with U.S. weapons and training.

There is only one reason that I see that we are still in Iraq, and that is the cretin-in-chief's total incapacity to recognize reality. This hardly bodes well for future actual threats that we may yet have to face with this lack of leadership. With all of you, I do hope that a new Congress with enlightened leadership can pull us back out of the swamp that we've been thrown into.

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