A friend sent me a political cartoon today showing how many American troops have been killed in our efforts to avenge the terrorist attacks on 9/11 in New York and Washington, D.C. In a simple drawing the madness of our foreign policy was most visible. The fact that we invaded a country in the Middle East that was not involved with 9/11, and have suffered thousands of deaths as a result, while Afghanistan, a true player in the terrorist attacks, is being lost militarily due to a lack of manpower or a well thought out strategy, should enrage everyone.
But worse still is the fact that not only do American soldiers die in Iraq, but they die in vain. As a nation we do not want to talk in such a way, as there are too many families and communities hurting over the death of loved ones killed in Iraq. But a harsh dose of reality is required to understand the gravity of the foreign policy mistake, and what must be done to remedy it, end this fiasco, and stop our troops from being killed. As I write tonight, over 93 American troops have been killed this month in Iraq, and it made no difference at all, as the Bush policy is so fatally flawed.
The problem is not that our troops are not brave and sincere. Instead, the Bush White House sent our troops to Iraq for base political purposes. In addition, the troops were let down by their fellow citizens that were too lazy and feeble minded to recognize the lack of logic when war in Iraq was being proposed, and then doing something to prevent it.
The President and the top White House advisors do not want to admit that Iraq is in a civil war. The bloodshed between the Sunnis and Shiites has claimed well over 30,000 lives in Iraq. While the Bush Administration can’t say this is a civil war, since that would clearly name their war policy a failure, everyone else in the world using a standard definition for a civil war knows our troops are caught in the middle of one.
The refugees fleeing their homes in Iraq are estimated at near 250,000 people. The sectarian violence continues to grow and releases itself in a daily toll of human misery that pains any person with a soul. Since February 69 mosques have been attacked. Any social bonds between various groups have been shredded.
Internally the political landscape of Iraq is in complete meltdown. Power is not being wielded by the government, but instead by local powerful clerics and their armed followers. Cleric al-Sadr is perhaps the best known, and is I fear, more connected with the average Iraqi than anyone in the current elected government.
Power sharing in Iraq, through a confederation of sorts between the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites seems like the only route left to choose. But putting the madness back in the bottle that has been unleashed with the civil war may prove impossible, which then makes the power sharing idea almost impossible to envision.
Though I have always been a strong opponent to the war, I have held to the idea that we must not allow a power vacuum to exist in Iraq. To accomplish that I have felt it wrong to pull our troops out before the Iraqi’s had established a government that could protect itself. This past month I have had a harder time reconciling my hopes with the facts on the ground in Iraq. The daily listing of the number killed this month has been most unsettling.
Too many American soldiers have died in vain, and are still dying, and we should not continue on the path that we are on. Unless there is a real, dramatic, and cogent plan that has the backing of a broad spectrum of America, including folks such as myself, then we need to bring our troops home. Unless the President can lose his worn out rhetoric, and address with realism the future of Iraq, and the way the world can work this out, then he must admit defeat and call our troops home.