Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Meatgrinder keeps grinding away 

Another 15 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq today. Fourteen of them when their armored vehicle was completely destroyed by an insurgent IED. Those “Improvised Explosive Devices” don’t seem so improvised any more. This gives something like 39 U.S. troops killed in Iraq in the past 9 days.

Of course, Americans won’t see much of this bloodshed. The U.S. government, if it learned nothing else in Vietnam, learned to not let the media show the true nature of the war. That would be the quickest route to losing public support for the war.

On a similar note, the U.S. political leadership also doesn’t tell the public much of anything about the true nature of the conflict and how the war is going. The U.S. public generally just gets rosy predictions from Bush or Cheney about the insurgents being on their last legs and on the verge of complete defeat. But when the political/military elite is just speaking amongst themselves about how the war is really going it is interesting to see what they say. According to a leading ChickenHawk site (The Belmont Club) two former defense officials, Francis West and Jeffrey White, spoke on Iraq at the Washington Institute. Here is some of what they had to say:

West: 'When U.S. forces invaded, they avoided Sunni areas and thus never actually eliminated the Sunni Arab threat. ... The insurgents show no signs of weakening; in fact, they have begun to adopt tactics that are difficult for coalition forces to counter. These fighters learned their lesson in Falluja; they now favor bombs over direct attacks on coalition troops. They have also mastered the art of wrapping their efforts in religion. Accordingly, anti-sedition laws should be passed so that those who incite violence in mosques and schools can be held accountable. ... Regarding Syria, the country is essentially a safe haven for insurgents. The coalition should not allow this. Despite the many obstacles, victory is achievable. When will the coalition know it has won? The day an Iraqi soldier can sit on a bus in uniform and not worry about being a target.'

White: 'The United States has forced Sunni Arabs to make serious decisions about their future. Many of them now appear to be cooperating with the new Iraqi government and participating in the political process. ... The insurgency is growing in intensity and can be expected to continue at its current level for at least six to twelve months. It has endured despite coalition offensives designed explicitly to eliminate it. ... For example, it has reemerged in Falluja despite two major offensives that ostensibly eliminated the insurgent presence there. Even more disturbing, the insurgency enjoys popular support in Iraq. ...

So, contrary to what the American public is told the real deal is the insurgency show no signs of weakening, it is even growing in intensity, and it enjoys popular support. And to top it all off, Syria will have to be dealt with – which means you know what.

So the U.S. is back to just how things were under L.B.J. Then the President repeatedly assured the country everything was fine while in reality they already knew the war was un-winable as expressed in the Pentagon Papers. And now we see the same double talk – optimism for the public and pessimism behind closed doors. Of course, this double talk can only go on so long. Reality DOES have a way of asserting itself after a while.


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