…unfortunately, he was part of the 82nd Airborne when he figured it all out. Now he’s got a boatload of problems. Read the Newsweek interview.
Should anyone require further evidence that we will never “win” the war in Iraq, this field report from Chris Hondros, a Getty Images photographer, ought to dispel any myths. WARNING: While at least one of the images is moderately disturbing (most are too blurry to shock), the story itself is heart-breaking. It may well ruin your day, and it should.
If that’s not enough—and frankly it should be—here’s a report on Iraq war profiteering that should make your stomach turn. When in doubt about anything, follow the money.
US forces had a “good” March in Iraq as the fatality level dropped to 1.2 soldiers per day. That’s down from highs of 4.7 per day in November 2004 and 4.1 per day in January 2005. All told, we’ve lost 1,530 soldiers in this unended action plus suffered another 5,581 wounded. (My understanding is these Department of Defense numbers exclude certain casualties including mental health casualties and that actual number is north of 10,000.) As of March 20, 2005 some 213 contractors had been killed in Iraq. The Iraq Coalition Casualty Count web site continues to track all this and more.
The numbers of Iraq civilian casualties are impossible to determine with any precision since the Coalition forces refuse to release that information. At least one independent Iraq household survey put the number at over 100,000, a claim rejected by Coalition forces. There is little question, however, that whatever the number is, it is presently in the tens of thousands and will likely be in the hundreds of thousands by the time Coalition forces withdraw (if ever).
How this equates to George Bush’s claim that “freedom is on the march,” I have no idea. How it equals a lifetime hatred of the United States and its citizens by populations across the Middle East, I understand very well. The best thing I can say about this war is that it was arguably well-intentioned. The worst thing you can say about it is that it’s an immoral, ongoing quagmire of an invasion that’s killing far too many innocents as it dangerously bankrupts our country militarily, financially, and morally in a misguided attempt to lock up the region’s oil supply and/or destabilize the area governments.
Since we’ve never seen fit to cede enough control to induce the United Nations or any of its larger members (other than the UK) to join the efforts in Iraq—an effort that may not have worked, but has remained untried—our best exit strategy may ultimately be an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq. That will require a good lot of Turkish hand holding, but it at least offers the possibility of stabilizing part of the country. (Odds are good that the Kurds, being comparatively homogenous people, could put together a self-governing country before the rest of Iraq.) If we can shift more of our military resources south, then perhaps it will enable us to more quickly extricate ourselves from the situation we’re in.
That’s my latest brainstorm on how to get us out of this mess, anyway. If anyone else has ideas, I’d love to hear them.