I don't know if this was widely reported in the US (probably not I'd wager, why would Fox ruin the Christmas spirit? Thats not infotainment!) but yesterday was the 1000th day of war in Iraq.
Now I know the Commander in Chimp, sorry Chief, stated quite early that war was over because the Iraqi army folded, but on 30th November this year he stated America was on course to 'total victory', surely an admission by default of a continued war. So to mark this pretty crap occasion I thought I'd stick up the statistics the Independant printed yesterday:
8%- Iraqi children who still suffer malnutrition.
$35,819 million- World Bank estimated cost of reconstruction.
53,470- Iraqi insurgants killed.
$343- Average monthly salary for Iraqi soldier.
$4,160.75- Average monthly salary for American soldier in Iraq.
66- journalists killed in Iraq.
63- journalists killed in Vietnam.
20- monthly casualties from mines.
20%- 2005 Iraqi inflation rate.
25-40%- Iraq unemployment rate.
90- attacks by insurgants in November 2005.
8- attacks by insurgants in June 2003.
251- Foreigners kidnapped.
183,000- Number of coalition troops in action in Iraq.
70%- Iraqis with poor or intermitant sewerage systems.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, thank you. You may be seated.
As we all know, yesterday came word of an important milestone in our nation's history: 2,000 Americans killed in the war in Iraq. 2,000 heroes ? or "H2K," as I like to call it.
Now normally I ignore the price we're paying in order to spread delicious, creamery FREEDOM? all over the biscuit of the Middle East. And I ignore it with good reason ? corpses are depressing, and seeing the consequences of war sure takes the wham-bang out of the glistening boner that is acting tough. I make an exception today for one reason: can't avoid it. (Winks.)
You know my poppy often blabbed about "1,000 Points of Light." And since he was just a one-term loser, I kinda figured that 2,000 should be my signature number. 2,000 days of paid vacation. 2,000 environmental regulations gutted. 2,000 flag-draped caskets whisked home under cover of darkness. And so on and so forth.
But now that I've reached my goals so far ahead of schedule, I'm thinking even bigger. After all, with over three years left in my term, what's to stop me from making it to H3K? Or even H4K?!
I'm confident it's doable. And fortunately for me, there is a particular breed of super-vocal mega-patriot whose enthusiasm for American death is, conveniently, directly proportionate to the number of soldier's lives I squelch out.
For these model Republicans, it's like Iraq is a big old slot machine, our soldiers are shiny silver dollars, and the only way to ever get that sucker to maybe-possibly spit out a few nickels is to keep feeding the beast. Forever. No matter what. If for no other reason than to honor the memory of the silver dollars already squandered ? and send them plenty of company so that they won't get lone up in silver dollar heaven. Yes, under my watch, America has become a leathery, chain-smoking granny at Luxor, feverishly pumping the one-armed bandit that is Iraq.
Of course, an inescapable consequence of my inspired leadership is that today, here in the shadow of the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery is nearly bursting at the seams. And that is why, in a striking example of my gift for planning for the future, I am pleased to be here today for the groundbreaking of the "George W. Bush FREEDOM? Crypt."
This state of the art, 32-story hero-interment facility boasts a 25,000 coffin capacity on a mere one acre footprint. The first of many such structures that will one day, God willing, constitute a mighty necropolis in the sky, and I will be honored to have it bear my name.
(Shovels chunk of sod.)
Furthermore, I am pleased to announce that not a single tax dollar will be spent on this here monument. No sir, because the whole shi-bang is being underwritten by the Petro-Industrial-Military-Evangelical- Princeton-Country Club-Complex at no cost to the public ? save for a $35/ticket admission. Plus tax. And parking fees.
And just wait until you see the gift shop! We guarantee that you'll walk in a fat, smug, narcissistic right-wing ideological automaton yearning to shed the guilt incurred supporting a war launched purely to assuage your insecurities, and you'll leave the exactly same, except under the comfortable delusion that you've paid your debt with shallow grief.
(Knowing Laughter, Applause.)
And with that, I'd better get back to work so we can start filling this sucker up just as soon as it's finished!
I'm pretty sure he'smocking the administration which has so little respect for the Armed Forces it has sent them off to die for no good reason, then flown their bodies back as cargo freight on a commercial airliner.
A different perspective on what's being accomplished:
The Truth On the Ground
By Ben Connable Wednesday, December 14, 2005; A29
When I told people that I was getting ready to head back to Iraq for my third tour, the usual response was a frown, a somber head shake and even the occasional "I'm sorry." When I told them that I was glad to be going back, the response was awkward disbelief, a fake smile and a change of subject. The common wisdom seems to be that Iraq is an unwinnable war and a quagmire and that the only thing left to decide is how quickly we withdraw. Depending on
which poll you believe, about 60 percent of Americans think it's time to pull out of Iraq.
How is it, then, that 64 percent of U.S. military officers think we will succeed if we are allowed to continue our work? Why is there such a dramatic divergence between American public opinion and the upbeat assessment of the men and women doing the fighting?
Open optimism, whether or not it is warranted, is a necessary trait in senior officers and officials. Skeptics can be excused for discounting glowing reports on Iraq from the upper echelons of power. But it is not a simple thing to ignore genuine optimism from mid-grade, junior and noncommissioned officers who have spent much of the past three years in Iraq.
We know the streets, the people and the insurgents far better than any armchair academic or talking head. As military professionals, we are trained to gauge the chances of success and failure, to calculate risk and reward. We have little to gain from our optimism and quite a bit to lose as we leave our families over and over again to face danger and deprivation for an increasingly unpopular cause. We know that there are no guarantees in war, and that we may well fail in the long run. We also know that if we follow our current plan we can, over time, leave behind a stable and unified country that might help to anchor a better future for the Middle East.
It is difficult for most Americans to rationalize this optimism in the face of the horrific images and depressing stories that have come to symbolize the war in Iraq. Most of the violent news is true; the death and destruction are very real. But experienced military officers know that the horror stories, however dramatic, do not represent the broader conditions there or the chances for future success. For every vividly portrayed suicide bombing, there are hundreds of thousands of people living quiet, if often uncertain, lives. For every depressing story of unrest and instability there is an untold story of potential and hope. The impression of Iraq as an unfathomable quagmire is false and dangerously misleading.
It is this false impression that has led us to a moment of national truth. The proponents of the quagmire vision argue that the very presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is the cause of the insurgency and that our withdrawal would give the Iraqis their only true chance for stability. Most military officers and NCOs with ground experience in Iraq know that this vision is patently false. Although the presence of U.S. forces certainly inflames sentiment and provides the insurgents with targets, the anti-coalition insurgency is mostly a symptom of the underlying conditions in Iraq. It may seem paradoxical, but only our presence can buffer the violence enough to allow for eventual stability.
The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops would almost certainly lead to a violent and destabilizing civil war. The Iraqi military is not ready to assume control and would not miraculously achieve competence in our absence. As we left, the insurgency would turn into internecine violence, and Iraq would collapse into a true failed state. The fires of the Iraqi civil war would spread, and terrorists would find a new safe haven from which to launch attacks against our homeland.
Anyone who has spent even a day in the Middle East should know that the Arab street would not thank us for abandoning Iraq. The blame for civil war would fall squarely on our shoulders. It is unlikely that the tentative experiments in democracy we have seen in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere would survive the fallout. There would be no dividend of goodwill from heartbroken intellectuals or emboldened Islamic extremists. American troops might be home in the short run, but the experienced professionals know that in the long run, quitting Iraq would mean more deployments, more desperate battles and more death.
Sixty-four percent of us know that we have a good shot at preventing this outcome if we are allowed to continue our mission. We quietly hope that common sense will return to the dialogue on Iraq. Although we hate leaving our families behind, many of us would rather go back to Iraq a hundred times than abandon the Iraqi people.
A fellow Marine and close friend epitomizes this sentiment. Sean has served two tours in Iraq as a reserve officer. During his last tour, he was informed of the birth of his baby girl by e-mail, learned his father was dying of cancer, and was wounded in the same blast of an improvised explosive that killed his first sergeant on a dirt road in the middle of the western desert. Sean loves his family and his job, but he has made it clear that he would rather go back to Iraq than see us withdraw.
Everyone in uniform does not share this sentiment. Thirty-six percent of military officers are less confident in the mission. But these officers will continue to work as hard as the rest of us toward success because they, too, are professionals. With men and women such as this, the United States has an excellent chance of success in Iraq. We can fail only if the false imagery of quagmire takes hold and our national political will is broken. In that event, both the Iraqi people and the American troops will pay a long-term price for our shortsighted delusion.
And as usual the neo-cons ignore the statistics I posted because they aren't good iraq news. Of course they will now point to this weeks election as to how things MUST be good if people are voting. Hmm. They have no sewerage system but at least they get to vote for thier Muslim faaction and continue Iraq's progress into a series of small states, only one of which having any oil. Unfortunately the electoral commission is saying it is quite likely to be a tainted affair.
To be honest I couldn't be bothered going after the same on the BBC or the Independant sites but the actual article isn't really controversial, its a political narrative so I felt it wasn't anything illigitmate. Am I going to put up Al Jazeera editorial stuff? Probably not, but event reporting like that article, well I think thats not too terrible.
And just out of interest is the whole rendition thing pissing you off too? Tony Blair has already dragged the UK into enough crap under the American flag without future torturees stopping over here un-checked. If the CIA was to break international laws do terrible human rights abuses its up to our government to ensure the UK takes no part whatsoever, even refueling planes with the deatainees on board. Charles Kennedy pointed out at PM Qs today Germany (and I think some other countries on the mainland) have started investigations into CIA activities in their countries. We need the same here.
1) I have nearly 600 posts here. Have you read all of them? If not, shut your mouth about the relevance of my posts. 80% of my posts are about training and most of them made in the strength forum.
2) I disagree with Repulicans and conservatives, but I'm by no means anti-American. In fact I went to an International school for 3 years and it was American.
3) In a typical 'liberal' way, you have turned a valid discussion into personal insults and attack. You are a clown, and I hope you are wearing your full make up, red shoes and circus clothes as you are typing your comments.
These are interesting, but carefully parsing how they are phrased shows they don't tell you as much as they seem to tell you.
And for some, I'm not certain of the point?
Note the word "still." This doesn't mean anything unless you have the delta, i.e. you see the difference compared to immediately prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Rebuilding might be a better characterization. The infrastructure in Iraq was in much worse shape than was estimated before OIF - that's one of the reasons why "reconstruction" has been so difficult.
This would be a more useful number if we had an estimate of the total number of insurgents. I'm guessing the percentage would be quite high, especially as compared with U.S. and coalition casualties.
What's the median monthly income for Iraqis generally? And what was it prior to OIF?
I don't see the significance here, unless the implication is that the U.S. pays its soldiers more than Iraq pays its soldiers? If so, what's the point?
Again, the point? That the terrorists are targeting journalists while the VC did not?
Terrorists? Coalition troops? Civilians? Some combination thereof? Obviously, the break down is important.
Again, these need numbers against which to compare them - preferably from immediately prior to OIF.
A better comparison would be to 2004, after the insurgents had time to organize. Those, I believe, would show an improvement. Comparing to right after the fall of the Ba'athist government wouldn't seem to be a good comparison.
Yes, terrorists are targeting foreigners in Iraq.
OK. That's the estimate of the current force on the ground, correct?
Again, comparison numbers are needed. And, from what I understand, regional numbers for comparison would be particularly telling.
OK - but giving a summation for these numbers, and a current force on the ground number above, implies a greater percentage than is accurate.
To impute a proper percentage, they should list the number of troops in total that have rotated through since the start of OIF.
BTW, the "in action" part for the wounded number is misleading. They were injured while on active duty, but that includes sickness, accidents, and all sorts of other non-combat-related injuries. To get a meaningful number, one should compare that to the number of troops "wounded" - essentially injured and taken off of active duty for whatever time period - during peace time.
More properly, the cost of the war and of the rebuilding of Iraq.
Number of WMDs accounted for that he was documented as possessing: 0