Sunday, March 23, 2008

JMO - Editorials on Iraq

Reading the Sunday newspapers, I ran across a few editorials which were interesting. On this Easter Sunday, 3,996 US soldiers have died in Iraq and nearly 500 in Afghanistan, just past the five year anniversary of the start of the war, and 6 weeks short of the same anniversary when President Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" on an aircraft carrier just off shore and out of sight of land from San Diego.

The Seattle PI made an excellent point about the war against Al Qaeda in Iraq. According to the best estimates there are about 6,000 Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, and about 160,000 US troops, not counting the additional 40,000 support troops, and 100,000+ security contractors, all fighting those 6,000 terrorists.

We know that's not the whole story as many troops are taken up with fighting Iraqi insurgents, criminals, and other elements in Iraq, as well as providing security in the many areas we've "cleared" of Al Qaeda. But that still leaves a lot of troops fighting 6,000 terrorists. So what's the problem?

And now we're not really hearing about victory, but a long, protracted war with many small successes against Al Qaeda. For how long no one seems to know and their best guess is 5-10 years minimum. And almost everyone is privately recommending permanent bases, which are under construction, something the new President won't stop, despite the campaign rhetoric they're "against the bases", meaning yes but not in the face of reality.

And the editorial goes on to point out that the Al Qaeda in Iraq is not the one of 9/11 nor the one with connections to Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan or Pakistan depending on our sources. They originated in Iraq after the invasion and occupation, are mostly Iraqis, and have no affiliation with bin Laden. Quite the contrary, they're exporting their knowledge and tactics to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

They argue it's time for some honesty with the American people, something neither side in Congress, the White House or on the campaign are providing. Only the same rhetoric in an election year to sell the ability to look tough, but with and against whom?

The New York Times had a columnist who also made some good points. A recent estimate calculated the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is costing every American household $100 per month. Except we're not paying this, our government is borrowing the money from the rest of the world, of which currently China hold 40% of that debt.

Think about that. China holds 40% of our national debt and the war debt. And our debt grows larger every day. And every day, future generations will have to pay it back with interest. And by the time the wars are over it will cost every American household $330 a month. Right off the top the family income, straight to the debt holders, no questions asked.

So what exactly does the debt collector say when calling the White House about payments?

And the longer the war goes on, the more we borrow and the more we don't rebuild America's infrastructure, provide jobs for Americans, secure the future health, welfare, education, etc. for everyone, and reduce the current national debt, now over $9 Trillion. That's $3,000 per American. Not household, but individual. That's $10-12,000 per household.

And that's only for the current debt, not the future one.

Finally, Representative Adam Smith, Democrat from Tacoma, Washington, wrote a good column on waterboarding. In short he points out that we have long held waterboarding and other forms of torture to be illegal, and we have prosecuted individuals after wars, including US soldiers who have used waterboarding and other forms of torture, expressing outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

And now the Bush Administration is following in the footsteps of those who have in the past not only condoned it but used it, including Saddham Hussein's government, along with the Khymer Rouge in Cambodia and the North Korean government. All the while Bush is saying, "We don't torture." Adam Smith says it's the integrity of the US that's at stake and Bush can't have it both ways.

Well, not a good way to discuss matter on Easter Sunday, but then again, maybe it is. Maybe George Bush should have a revelation about torture with his faith to understand what he's really doing. But then again, I doubt he will, if ever, realize the calamity he's created. I don't see he has the strength of character to see the truth and reality and his own failures as a human being, let alone the leader of a free nation.

He's one of those people you really wish would change to see what's he done. And he's more than almost anyone more in need of someone saying when he leaves this earth, in all sincerity, for all he death and destruction he has created, "May God have mercy on your soul." He will need it.

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