March 22 2008

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Great newspaper article of the book, Gun Totin Chaplain and interview with author.

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US soldiers patrol the outskirts of the town of Baquba, 20 kms northeast of Baghdad, at sunset in February 2008. Five years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the US military is flagging under long and repeated deployments that have taken a toll on troops and hurt its readiness to deal with other crises.
(AFP/File/Timothy A. Clary)

Denial, Arrogance, Parallel Universes:

(Wednesday, March 19, 2008 was the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq.) The President contends the so-called troop surge he ordered in January 2007 has been a success and was necessary at a point when "the fight in Iraq was faltering."

He said, "The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around; it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror."

Vice-President Cheney said, "Five years in Iraq has been a successful endeavor. For the terrorists, Iraq was supposed to be the place where al Qaeda rallied Arab masses to drive America out. Instead, Iraq has become the place where Arabs joined with Americans to drive al Qaeda out."

Reality Now:

A U.S. soldier dances with children during the distribution of water filters to residents by the U.S. and Iraqi forces in Mahmoudiya, 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad March 12, 2008.
REUTERS/Ibrahim Sultan (IRAQ)
REUTERS/Ibrahim Sultan (IRAQ)"
Large-scale attacks by terrorists and insurgent groups continue. Bombings killed six Iraqis and wounded 51 in northeastern Baghdad and Mosul on Tuesday, and the death toll from a Monday suicide bombing in Karbala rose to 50.

How can a Commander In Chief be this devoid of reality? Well, in a sense, it is understandable if you look at the President's personality. He has a personality that appears to be anything but reflective. Admitting errors is not part of who he is.(See Myers Briggs article)

Here's an example. With disastrous results, the invasion of Iraq did very little but depose a tyrant. Few Iraqis have even the basic necessities and would readily admit that they were better off under Saddam. Yet, the President insists Mission Accomplished.

And, think about this: As the Commander in Chief, all your underlings are telling you only what you want to hear. They are like courtiers in the King's Court: you are great, wonderful, infallible, building your legacy: bomb, bomb, bomb.

The President with little reflection and maybe not overly savvy or smart(take your pick) will listen to those like Cheney, Rove, Wolfowitz, Pearl, and Rumsfeld who have their own political agendas; and, suddenly, the President has been manipulated into decisions that have disastrous results. Then, in the face of reality, the President and these die-hard political types, and there are plenty, would say, "Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up."

A transit camp in Ruweished near the Jordanian-Iraqi border. Iraqis are still fleeing their country five years after the US-led invasion and top the list of asylum seekers in the industrialised world, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday
(AFP/File/Awad Awad)
(AFP/File/Awad Awad)
For the life of me, I don't understand. I wouldn't expect someone who has created a quagmire to admit it, but I would expect them to at least maintain a low profile.

The fact is; and, just not in my opinion, that there is very little about Iraq and our involvement that is not somewhat screwed up. The only highlight is the performance of our soldiers who are just doing their jobs; but, because of the politics involved, they often come out looking bad themselves.

We have a public that has less than stellar investment in our soldiers. Most Americans are not involved. More and more, the troops are realizing that the support of the American people who care is benign at best.

The politicos debate endlessly about their positions: troops in or out, the tremendous cost, 3-5 trillion--it goes on and on. The Generals have been incredibly politicized and when one surfaces to suggest another course, he is unceremoniously shown the door like William Fallon.

And, of all the difficult things, in just a few days, we will have lost 4000 young lives in Iraq and Afghanistan-more than were lost on 9-11. These are young men and women who will not get to live out their lives and chase what most of us still believe in-the American dream.

The sadness of it goes far beyond anything that I can say. All the families that will be affected will wrestle with it and most will accept the idea that their loved ones were fighting for their country and, he or she was-the country sent them off to war.

But, possibly, the reality in the back of the families' minds will be was it worth it?

It is not a matter of being against the war, it is a matter of utter foolishness. I guess the best thing that we can say about this war is that this Commander in Chief will not be around for the 6th anniversary. KT

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