Bush v. The World, The Cost of Iraq

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David Jackson of USA Today covers Pres. Bush's new Iraq war strategy. Not the strategy in Iraq, which is just more of the same. But, the strategy to P.T. Barnum the war to the rest of the world, especially the American public. Jackson states: "President Bush sought Monday to emphasize progress over disillusionment after three years in Iraq." Oh, yes, in 10 or 15 years, Iraq may become stable and somewhat peacefully Democratic while remaining a nation intact. But, at what cost to us and them, Mr. President?

Sometimes, a civil war kills and damages fewer lives by being conducted, won or lost, and resolved, than to avoid civil war but keep civil unrest going for decades. The President has never, and will never, weigh the cost to the American and Iraqi people. The reason is simple, for him there can only be one outcome. Failing that, the cost to him and his legacy is too great for him to bear.

In other words, the President would not save lives, limbs, expense, and long term civil unrest if it means his abandoning the only outcome which would vindicate him in his own mind. The others in the Administration have their own agendas for continuing this already too costly war. The Generals don't want to go down in military history books as a lesson to be learned like General Armstrong Custer. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, the primary source of all the incompetence in the management of the war in Iraq, has the same stake as the President in perpetuating this conflict for as long as it takes.

In 2003, before our GI deaths had reached 500, I wrote that 500 American deaths are too many for this preemptory elective war. If only others had insisted on similar limits, almost 1,8000 more American soldiers would still be alive, today. And many thousands of Americans would not have lost limbs or their mental health. One in 10 American soldiers treated in Germany are treated for mental health problems.

And for this handful of men's egos and self-appraisal, the Iraq war will continue to kill, maim, indebt, and impoverish, not just Iraqis, but, Americans in uniform, and American taxpayers for decades to come. In Dec. of 2003, on the occasion of Saddam Hussien's capture, I wrote,

The power struggle in Iraq will continue to cost American and allied lives. 'Collateral damage', meaning unintended death and maiming of innocent men, women, and children will continue. The draining of billions of tax payer dollars will continue as the occupation in Iraq continues for at least as long as George W. Bush is President, or the President learns the definition of diplomacy abroad. For our troops in Iraq, I am very glad they have something to celebrate, but, it will be a short lived celebration as the fighting continues.

Will you continue to support this war without regard for cost? Will you continue to trust President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld to conduct this war without sufficient troops, without a plan to win hearts and minds, without regard for the cost to our sons and daughters in uniform and the rest of our children in the future, as they struggle with higher taxes to shoulder our immensely growing national debt? Will you continue to vote for your Party's incumbents who are responsible for this New Viet Nam: a war without seeming end, a war with ever mounting casualties, a war that can never be won, because the people in Iraq must fight their civil war and resolve their own differences?


I've been reading your blog for a long time, great work. I can only hope your last paragraph comes true, but I'm not sure clearing the dead wood from Congress will be enough of a catalyst get it done. I don�t think that anything short of usurping the current leadership of one of the two controlling parties is going to force any long lasting change in the way our government works.

This new leadership would have to be centrist, borrowing from the fiscal conservatives on the right and the social liberals on the left. It would have to have a unified party message coordinated through all candidates demanding a reduction in the deficit, an end to corporate give-aways, a sensible tax plan, National Health Care, an end to government intrusions into our private lives, actual reform in campaign finance and lobby rules, a legitimate plan on Iraq and the war on terrorism. Oh, and of course enough money to buy the election.

Stash, thank you for the comments.

I believe an anti-incumbent swell at the polls would move incoming and remaining incumbents toward the center. Of course, I can't prove that would be the case, but, there is a good deal of historical evidence that supports 1) Congress shared between the two parties is less extreme, and 2) leadership tends to move toward the center when public dissatisfaction is measurable in the polls.

Will be sufficient as you intelligently inquire? I don't know. If the anti-incumbent mood of voters extends past one election to incorporate back to back elections, I am confident it would be sufficient. But, in one election cycle, I doubt it.

As you point out, the fear is that it will be a one election campaign promise with no results.

If there are a lot of Leibermans loosing to Lamonts, then I think we'll have something. Then, every sitting incumbent will know that their job is on the line.

Stash, I agree. And that is the goal. Making every incumbent believe their job is on the line. Then solutions instead of empty promises will result.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on March 21, 2006 3:00 PM.

2006 Election: Asses and Elephants? was the previous entry in this blog.

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