As of today, the U.S. Department of Defense confirms that 3,501 American soldiers have lost their lives in George W. Bush’s failed war on Iraq. (This is slightly lower than unofficial counts; the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count pegs the number at 3,506.) In June, an average of three young men and/or women in U.S. uniform have died per day in order that Bush can insist he was right to divert attention away from a post-September 11 pursuit of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (the latter of whose existence he now barely acknowledges--despite a long-ago, and since broken promise to bring bin Laden in “dead or alive”), and instead go after the neoconservatives’ boogeyman and his father’s old nemesis, Saddam Hussein. All based on phony intelligence about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” capabilities, and abetted by the Bush administration’s concerted campaign of fearmongering.
When will this disaster end? Not anytime soon, if “the decision-maker” makes the decision. As the Los Angeles Times reported recently, Bush “would like to see the U.S. military provide long-term stability in Iraq as it has in South Korea, where thousands of American troops have been based for more than half a century.” This, despite polls showing that Americans want the country out of civil-war-torn Iraq within a year. While Democrats seem to have trouble translating this public mandate into policy (their recent cave-in to Bush on funding his continuing Iraq adventure boded ill for any quick reassignment of U.S. forces), it seems hard to imagine that Congress will roll over to Bush on this one, allowing the country to make a 50-year commitment to policies that have their roots in the lies he told to start a war in the Middle East. Republican presidential contender John McCain, who at some point convinced himself it was a good idea to parrot Bush’s warmongering, regardless of the prez’s abysmal poll ratings, probably helped doom his campaign by doing so. And surveys show 89 percent of Americans saying that Bush’s war on Iraq--and a candidate’s support or denunciation of same--will be “very important” in how they vote in 2008. At some point (probably sooner, rather than later), even Bush’s GOP water carriers in Congress must acknowledge that they’ve been misled--and that to continue backing the prez on Iraq will provoke more of the same voter backlash in 2008 that so dramatically ended Republican control of Congress and U.S. governors’ offices in November 2006.
But, really, you’d think that the landmark of more than 3,500 U.S. deaths (and the parallel deaths of 65,000 or more Iraqi civilians) would be enough to force a change in America’s policy on Iraq--if not to compel a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces, then at least to begin a lessening of the nation’s commitment to Bush’s war and a call for international help in strategizing a way out of this debacle. Or maybe not ...
READ MORE: “Bush Is Losing Credibility on Democracy, Activists Say,” by Robin Wright (The Washington Post); “Old Problems Plague New Security Plan for Iraq,” by Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers); “The Current State of Chaos,” by Gary Larson.