Tuesday, March 25, 2008

... And the war drags on

Posted By on Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 11:34 AM

Two quick follow-ups to last week's Iraq War cover story:

1. The minuscule "gains" made by the Bush/McCain "surge" now appear to be unraveling, which is kind of what you'd expect from a policy that never promised success, but rather a lower level of failure. The biggest surge going on in Iraq lately is a new buildup in levels of violence. The reason? Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army is back in action, taking over neighborhoods in West Baghdad and challenging government troops in Basra. Deadly explosions and rocket attacks have resumed, and 149 people have been killed in Baghdad alone this month (compared to a "mere" 76 deaths in November, which was the low during the surge). As many critics have suspected, the reduced violence in Iraq had less to do with more U.S. troops patrolling the street than with al-Sadr's ceasefire declaration. As the Shiite cleric's ceasefire falls apart, so do any illusions that the Bush/McCain surge is going to work. But don't tell the president, the VP, or McCain — they're no longer with us poor slobs in the "reality-based community." As McCain said yesterday, "We're succeeding, I don't care what anybody says."

2. The vice president lived up to his reputation, as well as to his first name, yesterday by his reaction to the news that U.S. military deaths in Iraq have now reached 4,000. He reminded ABC News that those 4,000 people had volunteered for duty (i.e., "what'd they expect?"), and then went on to say that it's President Bush who "carries the biggest burden." Yeah, I really feel for Dubya, having to send all those people off to die for his mistakes. Poor guy, I bet it's really getting to him. I guess that's why he was tap-dancing for the press the other day. Cheney's remark only underscores the top-down view and attitude of the Bush crowd: We're the leaders, and if people die because of our decisions, well, they're a bunch of nobodies, so too bad — as when he responded to a question last week about recent polls that show two-thirds of Americans say the war in Iraq isn't worth it. Cheney's reply: "So?"

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