The Iraq Calamity
August 3, 2005
It’s almost unbearable to see the accounts, nearly every day, of yet more U.S. soldiers gunned down in Iraq.
This morning, my wife and I were watching the news when it was reported that 14 more Marines were killed in western Iraq, following the ambush and murder of 6 Marines the previous day.
And my wife said, “What are we doing there? Let’s get out of there!”
It seems to me that’s the right question, and the right answer.
The stated reasons for the U.S. presence have long since been discredited. And the longer our troops stay there, the messier things become.
Even British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, captain of the cheerleading team for this war, said as much. “Although we are part of the security solution there,” he said, “we are also part of the problem.”
But the effort to reduce U.S. and British troops is made of straw.
Bush and Blair are counting on the Iraqis to do the killing for us.
But they have proven woefully incapable of that task so far.
And the Iraqi defense ministry, according to a report in The New York Times, is riddled with corruption and inefficiency and is in no position to pick up the slack.
Unless the Iraqi military dramatically improves, “we won’t be able to take the training wheels off and let them operate independently,” a top U.S. commander in Iraq told the Times.
What’s more, with each passing ambush, it becomes clearer and clearer that much of the Iraqi military is infiltrated with insurgents.
The cold reality is that the United States is unwittingly arming and training some of its own enemies.
And so the number of U.S. casualties will continue to mount.
Today it stands at 1,820 U.S. soldiers killed.
Eighteen hundred and twenty.
And there is no end in sight.
By Thanksgiving, if not earlier, that number is likely to exceed 2,000.
This is not what America signed up for.
Eighteen hundred and twenty U.S. soldiers killed, as well as tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. And then there are the wounded: more than 13,000 on the U.S. side, and many times more than that among Iraq’s civilian population.
This is a calamity.
What are we doing there?
Let’s get out of there.