You are here


Strategy Word Count

Check out the word counts from Bush's Iraq strategy speech as compiled on the Mojo blog.  It makes a point in a round about way.

T.A.L. on Iraq

There have been a couple of recent episodes of This American Life with interesting stories about Iraq.  Act Two of episode 302 (Strangers in a Strange Land) is about soldiers blogging from Iraq.  Act Two of episode 300 (What's in a Number?) tells the interesting story of how the Johns Hopkins study, published in The Lancet (available online, free registration required), that tried to estimate the number of Iraqi deaths that resulted from the war.  Act Three tells the story of a captain who "...was given a particularly tough assignment in Iraq: to build relationships with a town where U.S. bombs had killed twelve innocent people.

What Bothers Me About Iraq

Since Iraq hasn't been in the news lately (ha, ha), I thought I'd reflect back on the last few years.  Admittedly, something positive has come out of the war: Saddam is no longer in power.  Was it worth it?

Here are the things that bother me most about all of this:

  1. 2081 US troops and tens of thousand of Iraqi civilians (30,000?100,000?) have died.  How many Iraqi soldiers were killed in the war?  I haven't heard.  What do we have to show for it?  A country in shambles, a security nightmare.
  2. $220 billion has been spent on the war and the rebuilding effort.  It's pretty easy to think of better ways to spend that money.
  3. Administration officials like Rumsfeld and Cheney have been so terribly wrong on so many fundamental issues (they completely misjudged how we would be greeted in Iraq (is that how they treat liberators?), vastly misunderestimated the troop level that would be required and called Gen. Shinseki's estimation that several hundred thousand troops would be required for post-war Iraq "wildly off the mark," thought the insurgency was in its "last throes" in May 2005, etc.), yet they have not been held accountable for their poor job performance and apparent incompetence.
  4. Despite thinking that an invasion was not the best way to deal with Saddam and his WMD's, many democrats made the political decision to support the invasion rather than risk doing the alternative.  Now they have to resort to calling the other side liars (for the most part, I don't think they lied, because they believed what they said even if they shouldn't have) because they abandoned the moral high ground long ago.

Janis Karpinski

She was the Brigadier General in command of US prisons in Iraq (including Abu Ghraib) who, along  with a handful of worker bees, has been scapegoated for the Abu Ghraib scandal.  There's a bunch of info in her Wikipedia entry.  It doesn't bother me that she's been held accountable, but it doesn't seem quite right that the accountability stopped with her (yes, I'm talking about you Rummy).  Karpinski is selling a book and, if you trust what she says, there's plenty of other blame to go around.  You might want to watch or listen to her lengthy interview on the Democracy Now! tv show. 

The fact that's there's debate about abusive treatment/torture of terrorism suspects baffles me.  From an article in USA Today:

Bush and Cheney oppose the measure because they say it would limit interrogators' ability to get information from terrorism suspects. Congress shouldn't interfere with "what we are trying to do to detain and interrogate the worst of the worst," says Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., a supporter of the administration's position.

We're better than that.  There are some principles that shouldn't be violated even if it places a limit on our info gathering.  Even if you can't be bothered with principles, you must realize that we have a PR problem.  Those pesky hearts and minds.  This isn't helping.  That's what John McCain thinks too, from another article in USA Today:

Terrorists are "the quintessence of evil," he said. "But it's not about them; it's about us. This battle we're in is about the things we stand for and believe in and practice. And that is an observance of human rights, no matter how terrible our adversaries may be."


Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer