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We have reached an unfortunate landmark in the Iraq War; 4000 US soldiers dead, upwards of 7000 iraqi soldiers are dead and over one hundred soldiers dead from other countries as well. There are also more than 80,000 Iraqi civilians who have died in this struggle . Despite this massive tragedy that will continue indefinitely, everyone from the President to the Presidential Nominee are touting the war as a success. In speeches given in the last few days, both Dick Cheney explained that the soldiers were brave and he thanked them for volunteering for this service. John McCain not only conflated Shiite and Sunni Islam, he failed to articulate whether he understood the deep rooted ethnic and religious conflicts that run deep in both Iraq and Iran. More importantly, he also echoed the same sentiment, explaining that the war was indeed going well and that he was committed to maintaining troops there until the US “won.”

Have we gotten to the point in our politics that we are so comfortable to deny what is right in front of us? 4000 US soldiers are dead for a war they did not create and for which they did not volunteer. They might be patriots, they might believe in the reasons we went to war and perhaps even agree with the Bush administration’s politics, but the fact remains, they were sent to war under false pretenses. When we went to war in Afghanistan, we had a clear enemy and a clear mission. With Iraq we had no real intelligence, no clear strategy and no real knowledge of who our enemy was. President Bush and his administration used Sadam Hussein as a symbol for anti-Americanism; anti-Westernism; a man who stood against everything the US believed in. No senator or congressman dared respond to that for fear they would be called anti-patriotic;anti-US;anti-West;pro-terrorism. It was a scary environment, everyone was holding their breath, Tom Ridge controlled our emotions by deciding what “temperature” it was (red, yellow, orange etc.). Why were we so scared? Why did people not question these motives more strongly and speak out against an unjust war?

I remember in January 2003, when the talk of war became incessant. I had a law professor at the time who swore to me that the war would be over in 15 days. He, like many others were convinced that we were going to fight a simple and decisive war, take out a dictator and replace it with a smoothly running democracy. However, what he was never able to articulate was why we were going there.

What is perhaps the most shocking of all the information we have about the pre-Iraq war days was the troop levels that were agreed upon by the army and the DoD. In 1991, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, we had international support, and twice the number of troops than when we decided to invade the country, to overthrow its government and install a democracy. However, again, the few at the top controlled the information, the messages and yes, the media. Leaving the American public completely in the dark.

Yes, I know, everyone from local bloggers to Frank Rich has written about this topic, so why am I contributing to this topic? Because, I didn’t when I should have 5 years ago. I don’t think anyone grasped what this would do:

  • 4000 US Soldiers dead
  • 29,000+ soldiers have been injured
  • 7000+ Iraqi forces dead
  • 80,000 + Iraqi civilians dead
  • Civil War; Humanitarian refugee crisis;Unfettered terrorism..

While I could continue, I think the real issue here is that despite knowing all of these facts and more, despite the tragedies, the misinformation, the quagmire that Iraq has become that there are people who still defend what is happening. It is too late to go back and point fingers (though we know who to point them at). However, it is not too late to recognize the mistakes that we have made and the status of the war at present. This shouldn’t be a political game where people tell the American people what will win them votes in November. These are people’s lives. This is an entire region that is in disarray.

So, I don’t want to hear John McCain or Dick Cheney or President Bush himself get in front of the camera and boldly tell Americans that “things are going well” because that is a lie. If “things are going well” in comparison to when more Americans, Iraqis and foreign nationals were dying a year ago, then thats a different story. Yes, its true the surge did work, which is a good thing, because that means our military and political objectives were met.

However, what these politicians are saying are a series of dangerous mis-truths:

*Just because less people are dying doesn’t mean people are not dying.

*Just because some roads are getting built does not mean mortar has not pummeled the infrastructure of Iraq.

*Just because the surge is working, doesn’t mean the war will end soon or can be won. If the politicians continue to stick to this rhetoric, at least the media should this time, do the American people a service and write the truth. Lets not let someone paint this war a different color then it is, red.

 

 

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Written by Veena

March 24, 2008 at 10:08 pm

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